Five minutes passed and Adian tossed everything back to Icicle. "Well, I have to say, my disciple's luck is really outstanding." he commended.
Icicle didn't even hear Adian's comment. He was itching to find out what kind of items did he really get.
Icicle was very satisfied with the loot. The bracelet was great if he decided to choose the Water Mage class. His damage wouldn't suffer much in the early game. As for the bag, it was obviously superb. More inventory space equaled more money and items. Icicle equipped the [Silverfang Ring] and checked his stats.
Icicle put the bag and the bracelet into his inventory. His gaze fell on Adian "Did you get anything good?" Adian scratched his nose, as if he expected the question "Merely a couple of furs and claws. I stored them away, but if you need them later on, I can hand them over to you" Adian smiled amiably.
Icicle furrowed his brows. There was no way Adian would willingly give his items up. He started calculating how many potions would he need to make to appease this money grubber.
Shaking his head to dispel this ominous thought, Icicle probed "When are we going to deal with the boss?" this issue was gnawing on his mind. He had to prepare. His mental fatigue was weighing him down. In case it was a long battle he needed to rest.
"During nighttime monsters grow stronger. I would advise us to rest. The sun should be up in 8 hours or so." Adian took out a flask filled with wine and took a sip from it.
Icicle nodded. This was indeed a good course of action. "I'll go back to my world then, just so you don't have to worry about me. I'll be back in 8 hours."
Gaining Adian's approval, Icicle logged off. He took off his helmet and looked at the clock on the nightstand. It really was a few minutes past 2am. Playing for twice as much time was a great feature of Loiterous. Icicle speculated it had something to do with dreams. After all, some dreams felt like they lasted for a few years, others appeared to go on for a few days and some merely for a few minutes, yet all of them last 20-30 minutes, 2 hours at best.
Icicle decided to get some sleep and then continue his journey with Adian. He hoped he could get to Vilen Town soon. He needed to buy equipment. However, before heading off to rest, he decided to check the forums.
In the forum search bar Icicle typed "furs". There was only one result applicable for Vilen Town. "Hunters are selling and buying copious amounts of wolf fur." Icicle clicked the link and realized it's a part of the quest. On the screenshot, the NPC who sold it had a whole mountain of wolf furs behind him. Icicle recognized them, their quality was poor. Those furs belonged to low level wolves.
Icicle started thinking. He had a large amount of furs. However, if there were so many to be bought from the Hunters, the price would be low. He can't sell himself cheap. If he could get the Alchemist subclass, so could others. Although Adian was just an NPC, he had helped him immensely. It was only courteous to return the favor.
That's why Icicle's plan had to work. He first had to go to the Tailor or a Merchant depending on the offered price and sell a couple of his rare furs. After doing that, he needs to calculate properly to buy off the entire stack of furs from the Hunters. If he does that, the price of furs should skyrocket. Even if it doesn't skyrocket, it should raise by quite a bit. Then he can truly profit. Giving Adian a large sum of money won't be a problem. Depending on how all of the town works, Icicle may even get him an apprenticeship at the Alchemist's.
Feeling quite satisfied with this not overly complicated plan, Icicle went to sleep.
Nearly four hours passed. Icicle ate his breakfast hastily. The sun was starting to lazily illuminate the world. Finishing his meal, Icicle relieved himself and then logged into Loiterous.
He spawned in the same location he was previously in. In the world of Loiterous, the sun was lazily crawling up the horizont as well. However, Adian was nowhere to be seen. The bonfire in the middle of their resting place was extinguished. As Icicle looked around, he realized that Adian was actually in the middle of a fight!
Icicle hurried over, spotting three of [Atlas's Guardians]. He rapidly took the aggro of one on the right side. Adian shouted "Careful!"
Barely blocking the attacks, Icicle had to clash with a monster that outclassed even the [Minor White Direwolf]!
Taking only two hits made Icicle retreat hastily. Adian was dodging the wolves' attacks with ease, but he didn't have much way to attack. "Attack their weakest areas when I shout! You'll only have a couple seconds!" Icicle hollered.
Adian was perplexed but after a second he understood. That ring he inspected at night had indeed had such a monstrous ability! Icicle used [Soundless Fear]. The three 2.5m long white direwolves immediately cowered in fear.
Adian didn't let the opportunity slide. He struck at the forepaws of one of them, crippling it. With a pivot of his foot, Adian cleaved the second direwolf's eye.
The ground quaked under the tremendous force of the blow.
Icicle was stumped! 800 damage in just one hit! It seemed to be a skill, but the damage was tremendous! Just what was Adian's level?!
Icicle quickly shook his head and woke up from his stupor. He had no time to be astonished. Adian used a combination of a few skills and dispatched one of the direwolves. The other one, as if led by aggro, left Icicle and focused on Adian. It must have sensed that Adian is a substantial threat.
About a minute has passed. Adian was about to finish the direwolves when a loud, reverberating howl echoed through the clearing and the nearby caves.
Adian quickly dispatched the howling wolf but it was already too late.
Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!
Four [Atlas's Guardians] growled menacingly. At their front was a 2m tall, 3m long, snow white direwolf. Its pair of translucent blue eyes shimmered with dangerous light. Saliva dripped from its maw, revealing razor sharp teeth. This was the leader of the wolves - [Atlas]!
"You've finally come, trickster!" Adian grinned.
Icicle quickly threw one [Piros Root] to Adian, smearing his weapon with the last herb. Seeing the bodies of their comrades and the blood stained axe of the youth in brown short hair, all of the direwolves quickly realized what happened. They jumped at Adian with unbridled ferocity.
"This little disciple of mine really worries about me, eh?" Adian smirked with glee. Those wolves were nothing to him, but had to play his part. He had to forcefully struggle!
Savageness emanated from the direwolves, making their howls even more fierce and deafening. Icicle knew the situation wasn't good. "Now, cripple one!" he shouted, immediately activating [Soundless Fear].
As expected, [Atlas] wasn't cowering in fear like its pack, it merely stopped for half a second and continued assaulting Adian. In the allocated fear time, Adian struck [Atlas] away, crippling one of its comrades with a wild strike to the forepaw.
Icicle picked up the hint and started assailing the wounded wolf. With one of its legs crippled, [Atlas's Guardian]'s mobility was even lower than that of [Minor White Direwolf].
The fight continued, Adian was only lightly injured, Icicle who had slept in the real world felt refreshed. His mental and physical fatigue was gone. Soon, he was done with his opponent as well. With [Soundless Fear]'s 60 second cooldown, there wasn't too much of a problem in dealing with his enemies. Only [Atlas] was struggling to keep its life.
"You really took care of those wolves easily." Icicle praised Adian. This supposedly weak trainee was actually really strong! Icicle suspected that Adian wasn't any weaker than lvl 30...
"Heh, I told you that little vicious wolf took me by surprise! Back then, there were hundreds of wolves that I had to fight! How can that situation compare to these few..." Adian was laughing loudly when [Atlas] suddenly let out a ferocious howl.
"Reinforcements?" Icicle hurriedly asked.
"Seems so. Distract [Atlas], I'll take care of it. Quickly!" Adian urged. It was high time he had dealt with the little critter.
Icicle naturally lent a helping hand, using [Soundless Fear] to distract [Atlas]. From time to time, Icicle sneaked in some cheap blows. Soon, another group of at least 100 wolves started closing in.
[Atlas] had only one AoE attack, it was a swipe of the claws. Its range wasn't huge, around 5m in radius, but judging by the way Adian prudently moved back every time, it dealt quite a lot of damage. Aside from that visible threat, it was hard to say. Icicle couldn't see the stats nor abilities of [Atlas].
If he knew how powerful the direwolf in front of him was, Icicle wouldn't even think of challenging it before getting a decent equipment and a skillful healer.
"You wanted the last hit then come on and deliver!" Adian shouted. "After you're done we need to fight our way out!" Adian stood on the neck of Atlas with his arms crossed, appearing majestic and mighty.
Icicle looked at Adian strangely. "Overpowered" escaped his lips. He nonetheless quickly moved into position and stabbed [Atlas]'s head. Its translucent blue eyes flashed with unwillingness. However, Adian was standing on its neck so it had no way to escape.
Icicle quickly picked up the loot. Equipping his title right away, he felt like this new title will aid him a lot in the early game!
Before he could rejoice though, there was still a large pack of wolves to get rid of!
Wolf tide? What wolf tide? Wasn't there already so much trouble?! Icicle glared at Adian as if he was an eyesore. "What kind of special NPC are you, goddamnit?!" he thought discontentedly.
Inside a quiet Albatros Company studio, two men were tapping their keyboards furiously, making melodious sounds ring out constantly. Twelve enormous screens before them flashed with streams of information, displaying windows, tables, charts and usernames.
It was merely 10 hours since the game launched and this two man team was responsible for surveilling the players. They observed if there were any hacking attempts, reports of bugs and glitches and other game breaking issues. From time to time, they would zoom in on some pretty female players and wonder if these beautiful flowers have changed their appearance severely.
Suddenly, a red light flashed across the main screen and new information popped up. "What is it?" came a female voice from behind the two men. Lisa, their boss, calmly walked over.
"Boss, there seems to be a group who has defeated a boss above level 10!" Carl, one of the men clicking on the keyboard responded obediently. He and Jack were friends. They worked under the beautiful tyrant named Lisa. This curvy blond female with a cute mole under her left eye seemed harmless. But that's what was on the outside. Learning from their predecessors' example, both Jack and Carl didn't dare have any ideas about her. She may look like a doll but she's a fierce tiger!
"Defeating a boss monster over level 10 so quickly? Even if those people have been online since the game launch, it's merely been 20 hours. Isn't it a bit too fast?" Lisa grumbled. Carl and Jack immediately picked up the hint and looked for the video of the slain boss.
"What's taking you so long? It's obvious it had to be one of the event bosses. How could those unequipped players with no mechanics to speak of and no prior experience in such a large world suddenly kill a proper one? Hurry up!" Lisa cursed her inept underlings. They really had no imagination!
How could the new players possibly kill a normal boss so quickly? They had no equipment, so they couldn't take the brunt of the damage of the bosses. Albatros Company was aware of that, so they prepared a series of events with weaker bosses. It should allow the new players to get some [Basic] grade equipment. The company couldn't expect the players to suddenly turn into skillful swordsmen and mages after all.
"B-But boss, the event bosses are all fine... this seems like it's a proper boss monster." Jack drawled out weakly.
Lisa tapped her chin. She seemed both angry and intrigued. "Find whoever killed the boss! We need to investigate if those people are hacking! That's nearly impossible but... I've seen weirder things happening. At least get their nicknames for now!" Lisa commanded in authoritative voice. Jack and Carl jolted, their minds cleared and they began earnestly searching.
While Lisa was waiting, the door to the little studio room opened and another female walked in, yawning. "Lisa, what the hell are you screaming so loud for? Can't I even get a nice sleep?" Nix lamented. She has recently finished registering the players. New VR devices were constantly transported to the malls and computer stores due to shortages. That forced Nix to pull out an unexpected all-nighter.
"Getting up early for once won't kill you, you lazy girl. Besides, no one told you to sleep in the office. Go back home if you want to properly rest." Lisa smirked.
Nix rubbed the sleepiness out of her eyes. "What were you so excited for?" she walked over and looked at the screens. She didn't put Lisa's teasing to mind. They knew each other for quite some time.
"There have been some people who have killed the boss above level 10. We're looking for the actual names at the moment." Lisa curtly said.
"Boss, we've found the people who hold the record. Actually, it's only one person..." Carl muttered. He feared Lisa's reaction. She was known to have a short fuse.
"Who is it?" Lisa asked expectantly. "Right, here's the video. Pulling it up on screen right now." Carl and Jack almost smashed their keyboards. They didn't dare to tarry. If they made a blunder right after the game launch, the consequences would be too severe.
The video played and there were only two men. One was Adian, who dealt with [Atlas] swiftly. The other, Icicle, jumped around distracting the direwolf and nimbly avoiding its attacks.
"Interesting, only one person, yet he managed to trick the NPC into getting the record." Lisa laughed with amusement. On the other hand, Nix's pupils constricted "It's that goddamn brat!" her hands balled as she stamped her feet.
"Oh? You know him?" Lisa looked at Nix with curiosity. "Your boyfriend?" she teased.
"My boyfriend my ass! That brat dared to call me a retard! I sent him to the dangerous area so he had to remake his character! Hell, I even put the hardcore settings on for him! Didn't he realize he's fucked?" Nix lamented, aggrieved.
Hardcore settings were made for developers who wanted to test the drop of the game. The experience required for leveling was much higher than normal. Coupled with the restrictions on classless characters to make the stat farming unprofitable, characters with hardcore settings on needed extremely high amounts of experience to level up.
"So that's the case." Lisa looked at Nix and smiled thoughtfully. "Don't change it. We'll see if that man's capable of playing with a handicap." Jack and Carl could only smile wryly. They didn't know which one of the two women had a shorter fuse...
Icicle shook his head. Adian really was a special case. Not only was he overpowered when it came to this newbie area, he even had enemies far stronger than [Atlas]! Just what the hell did he do!
Icicle was conteplating torturing the guy to get the information out of him, but there was no time. Thirty miunutes were ticking down.
Adian had a bad feeling. He turned his head around to see that Icicle's frowning. He knew there's another exploitation in tow. "No way! We're going back to town!" he shouted.
"We have 30 minutes before an enormous group of wolves targets us. If I understand it correctly, [Red Devil's Tribe] has some unsettled grievances with the wolves. We have to find what it is. I don't know what role you play in all of this, but if we go back to town, it will be sieged!" Icicle looked at Adian with a frown and shouted "Let's go!"
"Where are we going to?" Adian asked as he slaughtered his way through more than a hundred wolves. He had an inkling of who might appear so he followed Icicle.
"Where would you hide something valuable? I don't think those wolves could bury it in the ground. I mean they could, but if they did, we're fucked. Let's pray there's something in their caves." Icicle informed Adian hastily.
"You're betting our lives on luck?!" Adian screamed. Goddamn unfilial disciple! Icicle left him before the entrance and started searching in the stone cave.
Inside, the cave was damp. Musty stench assaulted the nostrils. The cave was made from grey stone, but the floor seemed slightly red. Who knows how many creatures have spilled their blood here.
Icicle moved in hastily. According to his gaming experience, whatever it was that wolves did to the squirrels had to be found here. It's either an object or a creature. Either way, he has to locate it. Locate it fast!
One cave after the other, Adian and Icicle moved amidst the assaulting pack of wolves. To Adian, it seemed like vacation. He didn't even sweat much. Nonetheless, he complained incessantly to play his part.
The fourth cave was empty as well. Icicle and Adian moved to the middle of the clearing. In an incospicuous small cave there, Icicle found a dug out hole at the end. It was covered with withered leaves and broken twigs.
He removed the leaves and branches and looked inside the hole. There was a little squirrel munching on an acorn. She looked lovely. Aside from her stinking fur, that is. "They have actually hidden their treasure in the middle of the camp. Sigh, I expected more." Icicle shook his head.
He picked the little red fur squirrel up.
"I knew it! It really was a hidden quest!" Icicle looked at the squirrel and smiled brightly. This was his "out of trouble" card!
As soon as he smiled, the squirrel patted his cheek.
Icicle felt the brunt of the force. His teeth creaked, on the verge of cracking. "What an overpowered creature. It's good I'm not those squirrels' enemy." he thought.
Coming out of the cave, Adian shouted with grievance "I swear to gods if you're tricking me with another scheme, I'll..." Adian saw the squirrel in Icicle's arms and his mouth gaped.
"We have only 15 minutes left. Make way!" Icicle said in authoritative tone. He didn't want to argue with Adian. Even more so he didn't want to be "patted" by the little squirrel princess.
Humming Forest spanned over a huge area north-east of the Vilen Town. Players who received classes after pulling out an all-nighter started killing monsters nearby. Parties of four up to eight scurried along the dirt road in the forest, looking for more monsters to kill.
Level 5 [Wild Boars] and [Grey Wolves] littered the area. Players had to be careful in aggroing the monsters. The ones who were higher level had a larger aggro range. If you weren't careful and the critter turned out to be a leader, it would form a horde of its kind and trample your party to death.
As such, many people used Archers and Mages to lure the monsters in groups of two to three. They chose locations where monsters wouldn't spawn, luring them there, lest they would be susceptible to an ambush.
Since it was 6am in real world, a lot of players started logging in. To their dismay, the areas where they were previously hunting at were now thronged with people. They had to look for other spots to get levels.
As many people were looking for monsters to kill, a bare chested man ran along with the fully armored tall youth with brown hair. They were dashing at full speed, followed by a horde of over 200 wolves. The howls scared some of the players into making way.
However, how could the players who incessantly looked for prey suddenly back down? They realized it's an opportunity for massive experience gain. Whatever event it was, this situation was a godsend for them! Parties of 8 quickly formed and assaulted the wolves at the back.
Players who at first retreated to the treelines saw that their female companions were blushing while looking at the bare chest of the male. They immediately got the hint and wanted to tore their equipment to shreds, showing their masculinity. Unfortunately, the equipment cost wasn't low so they quickly reconsidered. Even if they took the equipmnent off and stored it away, the effect wouldn't be as powerful. Being second to show sucked.
Since showing their muscles wasn't a thing, they chose to attack the wolves. They at the very least couldn't be worse than their competitors.
Icicle was running with Adian in tow. Adian was made a rear guard, deflecting the wolves. Seeing that there was a large group of players, Icicle was surprised. How could they level up so quickly? Wasn't he the only one in luck by meeting Adian? "Don't tell me Nix really fiddled with something...?" he thought.
At first Icicle felt lucky, now that other players caught up he was aggrieved. He somewhat regretted going back to sleep. Nonetheless, there was still a horde of wolves to deal with. Icicle used [Soundless Fear] and the low level wolves quickly dispersed, straying towards the groups of players nearby.
When they saw it, those who were unprepared or already occupied with a group of wolves glared maliciously at Icicle. They didn't know why the wolves suddenly turned, but he was the one who brought this horde there!
Icicle merely glanced back and saw that only around 50 wolves followed him back. The rest were engaged in combat with the players. Soon, dozens of white light pillars emerged from the south-west and west direction.
"I guess they can't handle those wolves over level 10. No wonder, if it wasn't for the potions I would just be another meal for them as well." Icicle concluded. He took out some [Wild Boar Meat] and munched on it.
"You goddamn slacker! You're eating while I'm struggling over here!" Adian lamented. "What a bad disciple!"
Icicle didn't mind him in the slightest. To him, Adian was an overpowered NPC. His level was at least in the 30s. Otherwise, how could he play with [Atlas] as if it was a kitten? Dealing with those wolves was a child's play to him.
Amongst the players there were always pioneers. Some managed to get a recognition due to rank, others due to luck, some because of their skill. Either way, they had the privilege to be in the front lines, not disturbed by other players. They could enjoy the empty leveling spots.
Today was the day their privileged dreams came to an end. Some dark haired lunatic with a bare chest led a horde of miscellaneous wolves forward as if he was a shepherd. He would be long eaten if not for the armored youth who repelled the attacks constantly. Holding onto a squirrel, as if it was his pet, the dark-haired man ran madly.
Those high rankers who saw it sniggered at his misfortune. Whatever event has the man triggered, he was most likely done for.
However, their schadenfreude lasted for merely a moment. Icicle smiled maliciously at them and the wolves who chased him started running in different directions, whimpering in fear. When they came to, the first thing they saw were those pioneers, battling their friends in remote locations.
The joy of the chase was surpassed by the massacre in front of them. Their brethren were picked on! Like a surging tide, the elites who were battling the higher level creatures were quickly embroiled in the sea of death and slaughter. Under a rising sun, shrill shrieks and desolate howls of many desperate souls echoed in the Humming Forest. Soon, there was nothing but bodies disintegrating into particles and white pillars of light flashing in the horizon.
By lessening Adian's workload, Icicle picked up the speed and managed to get to the [Red Devil's Tribe]'s territory in time.
"Huh?" Icicle stammered. What now?! "Is something the matter?" Adian asked as he stuffed a piece of meat into his mouth. This long run drained some of his stamina.
"Brace yourself, this isn't the end!" Icicle drawled out.
Ten seconds passed, blinding light emerged from the heavens, enveloping Icicle and Adian, teleporting them to the unknown location.