Icicle started experimenting. At first, he grounded 3 damaged [Green Stout Stalks] to see if the potion will still be created, only with minor difference in health recovery. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
Since he used 3 of 108 damaged [Green Stout Stalks] he collected, Icicle decided to try it with a few more. He put another 2 in. Still nothing.
Feeling a little dejected, Icicle steeled himself to use up to 10 herbs. Sacrificing more than that for a mere experiment would be a waste.
On his 6th damaged [Green Stout Stalk], there was still no change. Icicle worried about the vials being too full soon. He went to Adian and got a stock of 50 [Empty Medium Vials], as well as a new handkerchief. Poor Adian felt heart-wrenching pain giving away all of his stuff for free. If it wasn't for the future treasures and money blinding him, he would never give in so easily.
Icicle poured the liquid over to the [Empty medium vial] and continued grounding. Soon, the seventh stalk went in.
Icicle looked at the new potion in amusement. The recipe could be considered super easy, no wonder it was a [Common] grade. However, receiving stats for inventing the already existing potion was really nice. The experience gain wasn't bad either. Icicle checked his stat window again.
Wisdom increased his mana by 20 points. Too bad he can't use any of that mana yet.
Before Adian finished his packing, Icicle managed to make another 14 bottles of [Turbid Medium Healing Potion]. Every bottle made gave him 3 experience. Currently, he was at 226/250 experience. Just mere 24 experience points shy of level 3.
Icicle looked at the time and 6 hours passed since he logged in. However, when he looked at the real world time it was 11 pm. Only three hours passed! The time was apparently dilated by two in Loiterous.
Getting inside the tent again, Icicle saw Adian was still packing. He called out "Adian, I need to do something in my world. I'll be back in around 30 minutes. Wait for me."
"Ok, I should finish packing by then. See you." Adian was so helpless with the way things played out that he couldn't even be happy about a moment of reprieve.
Icicle logged off. He used the restroom, quickly grabbed a drink from the fridge and went on the forums. There were already a few threads reaching millions of views. Disregarding the "First look in the game" and "Why is the game so hard?" threads, Icicle looked for important information.
"Let's see, this thread here lists the prices of various kingdoms, it's pay to view though. Oh well, it's just a couple cents." His bank account dimmed by a few pennies and he was permitted to open the thread.
"Since I'm in Vilen Town, I don't need to bother with the other starting areas. There's no way for me to get in those anyways. Is there anything else? "Tutorial rewards", huh?" Icicle opened the link and another thread popped up on the screen.
Icicle looked at the screenshots and laughed out loudly. He had to cover his mouth when he noticed the time."That equipment is so shabby. I wouldn't mind having it though. This thread was posted half an hour ago, meaning that someone most likely took around 4 to 5 hours completing the tutorial. That's a waste of time."
Icicle knew that players couldn't get too much information out of the beginner areas. Even if someone did hear or get something valuable, they wouldn't share. He finished his drink and decided to log back in. "Can't let that fat sheep get away, can I?" he smiled as he put the helmet on.
Icicle spawned in the same place, he took the table into his inventory. It would be bad if Adian decided to get it back.
Adian came out of his tent, fully packed. After getting the tent down, he shoved it into his enormous backpack. Ready to move out, the tragic duo of a miserable and a very happy man departed.
"Oh, so it's like that. An event to be fulfilled. Pretty clever." Icicle thought. As he followed Adian, he looked at his map thoughtfully. Judging by the direction they were headed at, they would barely avoid the [Red Devil Tribe]'s territory. Icicle didn't have to ask Adian about this. Being on neutral terms with the deadly squirrels was great, but that didn't mean they will definitely help out. Receiving assistance would be nice, but they shouldn't count on it.
"We're closing in on their territory. Be careful." Adian raised his right hand and warned Icicle sternly. There was a large clearing littered with fragrant, colorful flowers. Each side was cut off with a dense forest, making the air in the area invigorating and refreshing.
Suddenly, Adian titled his head to the right, furrowing his brows. "They're coming." he whispered.
Two [Grey Alpha Wolves] sped off towards Adian and Icicle, baring their sharp fangs and claws. Adian, who was now wearing a battle uniform, immediately moved in to intercept them.
Icicle didn't want to be a deadweight, so he followed after Adian. He couldn't do much damage, but at least he could distract one of the aggressors.
Adian was much faster than Icicle. When he arrived, his axe flashed, flowing smoothly. Icicle started admiring that trainee a little. He wasn't bad. Icicle saw a masterful swordplay back in the day. Adian was using an axe and was far from that graceful, elegant level, but he could be considered as an expert among the beginners.
Four slashes landed on [Grey Alpha Wolf]'s body in a flash. His health bar was half gone! Icicle only shook his head muttering "Overpowered." and "His level must be really high."
The other wolf looked confused, not sure which target should he lunge on. Icicle struck decisively at the confused wolf's head.
"..." Seeing the difference in strength, Icicle's determination slightly waned. He felt discouraged. However, it was not the time for that, the other wolf already jumped at him!
Icicle retreated backwards, dodging the flurry of claws. He could only see the five attacks, but there might have been more. When he landed, he hurriedly drank a potion. The wolf was relentless. It swept his claws at Icicle yet again!
The lower digits obviously belonged to Icicle. The difference in level, stats and equipments was too much for him. As he was on the verge of death, his potion still on cooldown, suddenly Icicle's fighting spirit lifted!
Icicle felt warm. He leveled up to 3! His health raised to 100. Not only that, it was instantly replenished by the level up!
Icicle struggled with the impending death, clinging to his life by a thread. If he died, he might respawn somewhere even more dangerous than [Humming Forest]!
As he was on the verge of despair, Adian attacked the wolf from behind, sticking his axe into the wolf's butt...
Taking the aggro of the rear bleeding wolf, Adian dispatched it swiftly.
Icicle widened his eyes, looking at the ever increasing experience. His experience bar was at 306/800. This was a great progress! Dealing damage was definitely not an option. That last dodge could be attributed to his dexterity. Icicle felt like it increased his fitness level by a bit. He put one point which cost 2 stat points into dexterity and left the one unspent point.
"Stop grinning like a fool. This was just the beginning. I don't want to waste my time here, you shouldn't either. Let's go." hearing Adian's stern rebuke, Icicle was surprised. It seems that Adian was quite serious when it came to combat. No wonder, unlike Icicle he could really die here.
Adian moved to collect the furs and claws that dropped, but when he reached the place he frowned. "I don't have any room for it, collect it yourself." after saying that, he strolled forward.
Icicle quickly collected the loot. It was a shame there was no money, but he wasn't the one who killed the wolves. "Can't be too greedy. Powerleveling is enough." he muttered.
Following Adian, Icicle encountered another group. There were three [Grey Alpha Wolves] this time. Icicle couldn't even help Adian, so he moved out of the way. He watched as Adian dodged the claws and sharp fangs of wolves by a hair's breadth. Icicle tried to mimic the moves but his joints ached. He simply couldn't twist his ankle the way Adian did.
Except for a minor bruise on his right thigh, Adian was unscathed. He looked as if he was dancing among the wolves, slashing at their every opening. Even a laic could see that he received an extensive training combat and had some prior exposure to danger.
Icicle leveled up to 4. His experience bar now stated 46/2000. With the leftover stat point, he now had 4 points to distribute. He added 2 points into dexterity. "I have to get this [Wind Stinger] technique going! If I can dodge the attacks, then I don't need vitality. AoE attacks should be rare, if I meet a creature with such an attack and can't stand it, I can always run!" he made the decision and threw a [Basic healing potion] to Adian.
"Take it. Try pouring it on your wound directly." Adian looked puzzledly at Icicle and asked "You had more and didn't share with me? Miser."
"You're not the only one who can't die here, Adian. In the event I do die, I'll be transported to the nearest safe zone. Who knows if it's not in the middle of an even more dangerous area?" Icicle smiled sheepishly. He was quite embarrassed about not being able to help out at all.
"Then keep this potion, you'll need it." Adian was about to toss it back, but Icicle waved his hand in front of him. "No need, I have some more prepared. Don't think I'm stupid enough to give you everything. I kept the smaller ones, I have a few that regenerate 200HP if need be." Adian stared at Icicle as if he has seen his greatest business rival. "It's not so easy to milk that money making cow, eh?" he thought, uncorking the potion and pouring it over his right thigh.
After Adian was done, they plunged further into the [Humming Forest].
A group of five wolves emerged from behind a cave. One of them looked different.
Icicle obviously couldn't see its stats. His instincts told him it's most likely a [Rare] or a 2 star creature.
"Can you take care of those?" Icicle probed.
"There shouldn't be too much of a problem as long as they don't call reinforcements." Adian was quite confident.
"And if they do?" Icicle asked with some tinge of worry. He didn't want to be teleported to a worse place than he already was in.
"Then you had better pray your legs are fast enough." Adian muttered and dashed off towards the wolves.
Icicle looked for a way to help Adian. He hid in a bush to the east of them and started surveying the area. There was a piece of large rock laying nearby. "Might as well try." he thought, picking it up.
The gruesome slaughter continued, Adian waved his one-handed axe with precision, sometimes dodging, other times parrying with his buckler or weapon. What he did the least was blocking. He couldn't attack while blocking in the middle of 5 wolves! Icicle noticed the pattern and made notes to himself.
One of the wolf was heavily injured, profusely bleeding. It moved back, lurking there, waiting for an opportunity to strike. Icicle didn't let this moment go. He swiftly moved through the bushes, sneaking into the back of the pack. On the way, he picked up a few smaller stones and put them into his inventory. He was surprised that it worked, but he had no time to be smug. He had to hurry if he wanted to be of assistance.
Throwing one of the smaller stones, it made a loud sound as it crashed into the tree. Three of the wolves shifted their attention. Adian didn't let such an opportunity slide and viciously slammed his axe at one of them. Its head emitted a cracking noise, after which it fell down to the ground, limp.
Icicle looked in astonishment as he realized that the wolf was dead! Its body remained, but its brain was most likely cleaved in half!
When Icicle saw the pop up, it confirmed his guess. The situation didn't look any better though. Adian was lightly injured, but the [Minor White Direwolf] seemed to enter into frenzy. With one of its companions dead, its attacks became more vicious and concentrated. It started shifting its position, attacking from the flanks, then rapidly sliding to the back of Adian.
In such circumstance, Adian had less and less opportunities to attack. Icicle threw another stone, but only one wolf shifted its attention. Preoccupied with the [Minor White Direwolf], Adian didn't have any time to capitalize on the distraction.
"If I don't help him, my experience making machine will be dead! Fuck!" Icicle cursed the wolves heavily. He gritted his teeth and mumbled "All or nothing then!"
He threw another stone above the wolves. Its shadow flew over the wolves. All of them looked at it as if they were playing fetch. "More intelligent than dogs my ass!" Icicle scolded inwardly. Adian's axe flashed at the [Minor White Direwolf] but its body moved backwards. It moved based on instinct!
Icicle was already running towards the back of the pack. The heavily wounded wolf turned back and glared at him. "Too late!" Icicle thought, as he viciously slammed the giant piece of rock onto the wolf's head.
Icicle's eyes merely glanced at the window. What he was sure of was that the wolf laid on the floor, not moving. He took out his [Chipped sword] and started stabbing at its eyes!
Four critical strikes followed by a fatal blow, just like the one Adian delivered!
Delivering the final blow gave Icicle additional boost of experience. As he huffed and puffed, Icicle picked up the loots. Rejoicing for a bit, Icicle's joyful expression quickly dimmed. He noticed that Adian was having trouble. Adian's leg was bleeding, three wolves were lunging on him incessantly. There was virtually no room for him to attack.
Icicle took two large breaths, retrieved one of [Turbid Medium Healing Potions] and shouted "Smash it!" he threw it high in the air, in an arc that the potion was certain to land behind Adian. Adian looked up and understood the hint. He quickly moved backwards, smashing the vial in midair and letting the liquid splatter on his body. As it did, his wound stopped bleeding and started rapidly closing.
Icicle knew that going rambo on the wolves would mean his death. He closed in a little and threw the large rock with both hands as far as he could. The wolves immediately jumped backwards, avoiding the danger.
Menacing snarls came Icicle's way, but he only grinned like a grim reaper. His mouth curled into a crescent moon pointing upwards. Maliciousness and wickedness emanated from him, wishing those wolves nothing more than their untimely demise.
Such mocking behavior from a weak being that couldn't even be considered as their enemy made the wolves howl in anger. They completely forgot about Adian who was right behind them!
"[Chopping Wood]!" Adian howled.
Swish! Swish! Swoosh!
Three slashes filled with power and ferocity landed on the [Grey Alpha Wolf]'s body, severing two of its front paws. Adian moved out of the wolf's bite range and left it to bleed out. Its two companions turned in a swift manner, enraged more than ever. With foam-like saliva dripping from their mouths, they lunged at Adian!
Icicle didn't mind Adian anymore. There were only two wolves left, he felt like he helped Adian enough. Rushing towards the bleeding out wolf, he started chopping at its head.
Icicle's damage was lower because he attacked the skull, not the eyes. However, this wolf bleeded more profusely than the other, so his attacks quickly resulted in a killing blow. To Icicle's dismay, he only picked up a couple pieces of fur and claws. Picking up the loot from the wolf Adian killed, his inventory now had 150 copper coins, equaling 1 silver and 50 copper coins.
"This one is low, kill it!" Adian screamed, parrying the attacks of [Minor White Direwolf], hinting at the [Grey Alpha Wolf] limping at its side. Apparently Adian broke its forepaws. Icicle noticed the greed flashing in Adian's eyes. He knew that if Icicle killed it there would be a larger drop of items and coins!
Icicle liked this Adian guy more and more. He quickly dashed forward and started dancing around the wolf. His speed in going around the wolf was faster than the wolf's body turn.
Unsatisfied with the damage, Icicle waited for the wolf to turn and stabbed the wolf at its eyes!
[Grey Alpha Wolf] shifted its skull a little, making Icicle hit a spot between its eyes. Retrieving the sword, Icicle perveiced that the wolf's eyes turned crimson red. It had to be some kind of a skill!
Bone creaking sounds emerged as the wolf made its last-ditch effort, lunging at Icicle with its remaining strength!
"Fuck you!" Icicle howled, stabbing the sword straight at the wolf's maw!
Icicle took 20 damage because of a strong impact. The wolf choked and couldn't move up. It bit on the sword and tried to wring it out of Icicle's grasp. Icicle knew he couldn't win in the strength duel. He gripped the sword tighter and twisted it, making a mess out of the wolf's throat.
"How the fuck was that low?! He simply crippled that wolf!" Icicle tilted his head and glared maliciously at Adian. He received a grin in reply. "Goddamnit!" Icicle cursed under his nose.
His strength was waning, he couldn't hold his ground for long. Without his sword, what else could he use to kill that wolf? There was no way he could twist the sword any more. Icicle took out an empty vial out of his inventory and smashed it against the sword!
The vial broke in half and piece of glass fell around. Using the jagged vial, Icicle held the sword with his left hand, while stabbing with his right! "Go for the eyes!" Icicle urged his body to move under the tremendous effort and pressure.
"Not enough, damn!" he kept on madly stabbing, but his hand loosened, letting go of the sword. "Why don't you internally bleed out you fucker!" Icicle raged.
Holding a piece of broken vial, Icicle faced the wolf once again. It seemed as if the wolf had trouble spitting out the sword. Icicle thought of yet another wicked idea.
"This time you'll be dead for sure!" he moved his left foot forward, as if trying to jump. [Grey Alpha Wolf] in its raging madness mustered the strength to lunge at Icicle once again! As it did, its bones cracked in the air, but it managed to fly towards him!
Waiting for that moment, Icicle pivoted on his left leg, kicking out with his right foot straight at the wolf's maw!
The [Chipped sword] did continuous damage as it slided down the wolf's throat. Icicle staggered from the impact of the kick and tumbled backwards, hitting a tree.
"Ugh..." holding his head, Icicle looked at the wolf, lying on the floor, his sword nowhere in sight. He painfully stood up and circled the wolf. Terrified, he looked at the rear of the whelp. The tip of his sword seemed to be stuck there!
"Fuck, I'm not using that sword ever again!" he cursed out loud.
Icicle looked at the two enormous experience gains and his mood lifted a little. The 500 portion was his, because he managed to solo the wolf. 400 came from the [Minor White Direwolf].
"It seems like you managed to solo it after all, hahaha!" Adian laughed, standing behind Icicle. "Here, catch. You earned it." Icicle swiped the air unconsciously and caught the fur of the wolf.
"Thanks." Icicle nodded and gathered the loots from the wolf. Once again, just a couple of furs and claws. However, picking up the coins, his total gain was now 2 silver and 30 copper coins.
Icicle looked at Adian suspiciously. Where could he get that fur from? It doesn't seem like he skinned the wolf.
"Hehe, don't look at me like that, brother. Items drop for us too, it's just that being in a party with you means that we both have to participate. The drop rate is quite low to begin with, coupled with the level difference it's even more so. However, when you deal with the monsters yourself, it's not as high becasue of the party. If you were to kill a wolf like this on your own, being low-leveled, it would most likely drop a [Rare] grade equipment, maybe even an [Elite] grade." Adian patted his chest and said proudly. "I have no need for this fur. When I become a full-fledged Alchemist, I will be able to afford such things with ease." he added.
Icicle looked at Adian as if he was an idiot. He knows of [Elite] grade items yet he gave him the [Wind Stinger] book. It's either that he's good-willed or retarded. In either case, it's good to have him around. Icicle won't say no to more equipment.