Chapter 38 - Dungeon hunting
"It's time to talk about the latest news on the continent of Versailles. We will introduce you to the events that occurred in Royal Road. And today we have a guest in the studio, you all know him, it's Joo-wan. How are you!?"
"Hello! Hye-min, your smile today is even more charming."
"Ho, ho, you already managed to come, no need to bother with compliments. Apparently, there is some important news today, right?"
"Yes, you're correct. Not that important, except your preference in taste, because I sense that in the morning you ate finely roasted pork..."
"Oh, what did you say? In the morning, roasted pork tastes best. But do I really smell?"
Joo-wan and Shin Hye-min. Although they quarrel and say random things at times, they are a pair of young reporters of news for the gaming channel, KMC Media. Lee Hyun slowly ate as he watched the news program.
'Often they are blunt, but it's better than CTS Media.'
Yes, the eternal problem of time management: seriously making profit, it's hard to stay up to date with all of the events in the game. CTS Media invited to broadcast the most beautiful and famous actors, but they did not have the most important thing, innovation. In each episode, the actors focused on their image and boasted about their characters, which greatly annoyed the audience. Sometimes the show went so far off-field that it was unclear what they were talking about.
Compared to them, the news on KMC Media was much more convenient to watch. The excellently organized collection of information allows them to be surprisingly quick to recognize, and summarize main events in their news programs. The huge size of the Versailles continent gathered the vast number of players who to some extent, wanted to be up to date on the game.
"Now you will hear some wonderful news. Take a break from other issues for a few minutes. Now, at last in the Kingdom of Haven, the player Bad Ray received level 370, which was called the 'impenetrable wall.'"
"Remember that Bad Ray is one of the leaders ranking among the highest-level players, and certainly you know of the nickname 'The Black Knight.' Inside the tower, the soldier finally reached level 370. The highest level in the game! Now, let's see how this happened."
Warriors of the tower.
A gathering place for the strongest warriors of Royal Road to compete. A knight in black armor wielding a black sword was fighting against a fierce barbarian. The barbarian, screaming in a fit of rage, inflicted a terrible blow with his two-handed sword. However, using foot techniques, the black knight easily avoided and deflected the enemy attacks.
The speed of high-level players defies description. Blades flashed with unimaginable speed. And when you take into account their equipment, you would have thought that it was a battle between a red and a black dragon. Still, the winner was immediately clear: the black knight was playing with his opponent! In the end, the dark player won the battle.
"You just said that the player Bad Ray won the fight and become the highest-level player in the game! Thanks to the victory over the warriors who guarded the tower, he reached level 370. I also would like to addthat the technique which Bad Ray used in this fight has never been seen or used before!"
"Oh, ho, ho. Amazing!" Joo-wan was waving his arms and cried about. "However, Bad Ray must have been pushed, to have revealed such skills and technique?"
"What amazing insight! That's correct; Bad Ray is from the guild, Hermes. And as you may recall from our earlier news, Hermes took on the previous ruler of the kingdom of Haven, Iluina, and announced that they have chosen the path of a military dictatorship."
"That is, you mean to say that Haven declared war on all of the United Kingdoms?"
"Yes. Apparently their recruitment of more forces boosted their confidence."
"Moreover, they have Bad Ray."
"Exactly that! Although the leader of the guild is a different player, Bad Ray is in fact the face of Hermes. Thus, from the showing of his increase in level from the tower's warriors, Bad Ray announced to the world the supremacy of his guild."
Later on, the news turned to other matters. They mentioned that somewhere far off, some guilds started a war against a powerful wizard in a newly discovered cave. On the mainland of Versailles, something was becoming commonplace: someone lost their items due to the outbreak of tornadoes and earthquakes. So if you are going to an unfamiliar area, you must be careful and try to gather more information to avoid the maelstrom.
The numbers refused to leave Lee Hyun's mind. In the Continent of Magic, he was the best player! However, even then, Lee Hyun did not realize the true value of that nickname. He only played for fun, slowly beating monsters and almost never talked to other players. When he gathered an especially numerous amount of items, he would visit a town and then sell them. Hence, the nickname of the 'Best' had a hollow ring to him. It was only when he decided to sell his character that he came to the realization of such a title!
'Bad Ray... if you sell your account, how huge an amount of money will you make!?'
This was especially so, as the number of players in the Continent of Magic is not comparable to Royal Road. Over one hundred million people play Royal Road! Office workers, freelancers and many others used the game as a vacation spot. It is so popular!
While he improved his fishing skills, Weed saw many people like this. They came to the river Bensa to relax, away from family or work. Having picnics or sunbathing under the hot sun. Even if only level 50, their mood did not spoil.
The players do not hunt monsters for loot; instead, they just bought it all at once in the shops with real money. Often, they did so just to show off in front of their friends, as if they had come on vacation to a resort. In general, that was not far from the truth. With Royal Road, you did not have to take a leave of work for a week, or miss a weekend, as long as you have a capsule in your home.
Lee Hyun did not blame these players. On the contrary, he considered them as a different form of clientele. While there are such people in the game, anyone can make a little more.
Lee Hyun's thoughts all came back to Bad Ray. Everyone, from junior office workers and ending with company presidents played in Royal Road, so the cost of the highest-level character would be astronomical!
However, in the case of Bad Ray, if he is not a fool, it is unlikely he would sell his account. Royal Road has only recently begun its triumphant run throughout the Earth, and according to experts, its popularity will last for at least another 10 years. So selling a character, the value of which will still grow further, would not just set you back in the game, it would also be a great folly.
"Yes, thank you On Joo-wan. Do you have any more news to report? You talked quite a bit about the continent of Versailles."
"Of course there is. If you talk about all the events that have occurred on the mainland, even 24 hours would not be enough. I wouldn't be surprised if something amazingoccurred at this very moment."
"Really? Then don't hold out on us and quickly share something new!"
"Hye-min, do you like craft skills?"
"Hmm, yes I do."
"And if you would go into details...."
"Er... I like passionate people who can create something new with their own hands."
"Very good. Then you'll definitely enjoy this news. Just recently, a player has reached the intermediate level of Tailoring, Cooking, and Blacksmithing."
"Wow! That's great!"
Lee Hyun bowed in astonishment.
'Tailoring, blacksmithing and cooking – someone got them all up to intermediate?'
Lee Hyun went down that road, so he knew how hard it was to develop these skills to intermediate. So when he heard the news about another player doing this, he could not believe his ears.
'Well for cooking, it is just a long and tedious process. With tailoring and blacksmithing, if you use good materials you can quickly raise their level.... Though, thanks to trade, I'm raising the level of skills twice as fast.... Perhaps, it is possible that player did the same....'
But even through the use of trade, the development of all those skills, you still need to spend a huge amount of effort, materials and time. Lee Hyun found it hard to believe that someone else had mastered all three of these skills to the intermediate level.
Shin Hye-min made a pretty expression and eagerly asked
"Oh, so have you interviewed him? After all, if you find a player who has mastered those three skills to the intermediate level, he would definitely have a lot to say."
"No. Unfortunately, we found out about it too late...."
"I don't believe it! On Joo-wan couldn't get an interview?"
"Yeah. I was busy working on another story at the time, and to be honest, hearing of such a player, I couldn't believe it. Only when the site posted a few things that he did, I rushed to interview him; but, I was too late. The unknown player finally made clothes from prismatic fabric – a fabric of 1st class quality if you didn't know – and he disappeared into an unknown direction. The clothes he sold at the auction gained a lot of attention and was made into a video. Now it's displayed here on the screen."
The video screen of the studio was replaced with a major medieval city. Buildings made in the style of the Renaissance. Majestic temples and high towers, lots of two and three-story buildings buried in the midst of green gardens. Far ahead you could see the Colosseum, and many players wandering the streets as well as horses pulling carts.
In a shop you can see a player arguing with the owner, and in the middle of the spacious square, the auction was taking place.
A merchant wearing a suit offered for sale clothes that add seven different attributes. A lot of players gathered around the dealer in hope of buying something good. The price grew rapidly. Lee Hyun knew the merchant auctioneer.
'Yes, that's Mapan. So the player that raised all three skills to intermediate, it was....'
On Joo-wan was speaking about Lee Hyun.
Interestingly, would he have fainted if only he know that Lee Hyun's fishing and sculptural skill was intermediate as well?
'Well I was not conducting the auction...'
He thought that the recording of the auction they showed on TV was excellent. Players were excited, crying out and colliding with each other for the desired items. With it, Shin Hye-min and On Joo-wan spurred the interest by adding sharp comments. After the completion of the video, the images of the items sold by Mapan appeared, including the price it was sold for, as well as the item description.
"Look Hye-min! Clothes made from prismatic cloth, made through intermediate tailoring.
"This is amazing!" On Joo-wan enviously pointed at the monitor behind him.
Rare Tunic made from prismatic cloth
A tunic of prismatic cloth stitched by a mid-level master. The master has put his soul in this piece of cloth. Even some monsters would hesitate in attacking it with their sword.
Damage from arrows reduced by 85%.
Fire does not affect the durability of the garment.
Granted 20% probability that lightning spells do no damage.
Blunt weapons cannot inflict a critical hit on you.
Additional glory 100
Art increased by 10
Thanks the development of skills through trade, the item has incredibly high durability. The defense is also far superior to any other items made of good fabric. In addition, it has seven additional effects! With simple items, there may be two or three randomized effects, but often they are useless. But with this, when it is seven, and all of them are beneficial!
For unique items, Lee Hyun could only get a single unit. As with beautiful sculptures in the line of work of a sculptor, things do not always turn out that good as often with tailors.
"After the auction, the player did not return. When he appears, then I, On Joo-wan, will hasten to interview him, wherever he may be. I promise you that."
Lee Hyun glared at this narcissistic twit.
When you become famous, you have to be prepared for the appearance of both pros and cons in your life. For example, if you sell stuff, it's a plus. More people become interested in you and thus buy items; however, due to the fact that players start to follow you, they naturally appear and interfere with hunting and quests.
That is why Lee Hyun had asked Mapan to hold the auction for him.
"Aww! It's a pity that we could not get an interview, but it's time to move on to the next story. On Joo-wan, do you have anything else?"
"Yes. Finally, I would like to talk about the siege of Fort Odhein. The Guild Prosperity defended the fort from the attempted invasion of the Guild Balkan, gaining another victory. As of this moment, there is no force in the region that could fight on equal terms with the Guild Prosperity. It can be assumed that for some time, it is only natural that the fortress will be at peace. The prices will increase by 70% due to the costs of the military operations and the repairs from the defense."
"Indeed, I can hear the noise even now from the disgruntled."
"It can't be helped. The taxes are set by those who own Odhein. Yet even with this price increase, I'm sure a lot of traders and hunters will continue to visit the castle. Now, let's see the video of the battle."
The screen changed once again.
The shot gave a bird's-eye view of the fierce battle between the guilds for Odhein fortress.
Apparently, a magician tried to make a recording as he flew across the sky, in an attempt to capture the entire scale of the battle. And it was a success.
A grand battle unfolded before the audience. Wave after wave of attacks hit the walls of the fortress, and the defenders slowly had to recede. It slightly seemed that the resistance was going to break.
But no such luck. The result of the battle was that the defenders won, the Guild Prosperity. It was all thanks to the fact that inside the fortress, they divided their forces and were successfully able to defend themselves throughout the day, until the siege couldn't last.
"In the battle involved...."
Lee Hyun, who had been watching the battle on the screen with interest, had turned off the TV. He took a shower and went to lie back in the capsule.
Lee Hyun logged into Royal Road.
He was still inside the walls of Odhein fortress. Once the siege was over, he immediately left the game, and therefore, went back to the same place, the entrance. A lot of people were wandering around the area. During the siege, ordinary players could not get inside the walls of the fortress, so now everyone was trying to catch up.
"Did you hear? They say that the player Bad Ray hit level 370!"
"Yeah, that Hermes guild is lucky."
"They also say that the number of players who visit the Kingdom of Haven have increased several times."
"Hmm. Somehow, maybe we should visit the Kingdom of Haven? What do you think?"
"Yeah, that would be interesting."
Many players discussed with interest, the latest news of Royal Road. For them, the game has become a world where they really lived. Bad Ray has also become a symbol of success for such people. He was revered as a king, or even world-wide celebrity! If there are clips from his battles, they are immediately downloaded to millions of gamers.
Just like in all other online games. The whole process of the game was based on a bunch of features and the fighting techniques of a player. It was important for people to be able to demonstrate their skill in combining abilities in order to fight against your opponent. Of course, the higher your skill, the less consistent with the natural laws of battle in the real word. But the game was fun to go into battles, because the further you go, the more powerful your enemies become and more difficult will be the monsters.
Therefore, high-level players garner great interest among ordinary players.
The players who were discussing Bad Ray said their farewells and went about their own businesses as Weed went to one of the retail stores.
"Looking for a priest. Above level 170."
"Paying for a long distance player! Mage or archer!"
"Buying a sword that is suitable for a player at level 210! Additional effects as well!"
The area was noisy again. After the battle, a lot of players returned to the normal lifestyles, gathering in groups, chatting and trading.
Weed now had a level of 230. Thanks to killing many players in the battle, he was able to get two new levels. But not everyone was as lucky; many players died and in contrast, lost experience and were hurrying themselves to catch up. Weed threw the ten points he received from the levels to dexterity as he entered the shop.
In the last few months, Weed became far too enthused with the development of his artisan skills, and therefore, he did not pay attention to the items that could be useful in battle. The shopkeeper was a strong type of NPC, with an ugly scar on his face that might have been the result of the last battle of the fortress. He happily greeted the visitor.
"What are you looking for?"
"I need items, seasonings, herbs, and bandages."
"Good. Here are some items, medicines and herbs, as you can see."
Unlike other cities or castles, there was no separate food store. Therefore, food, herbs and other products were sold at the same place. However, there were a lot of shops that sold weapons and armor.
Red herb Zareta
Expentable: 2 silver
A herb that helps healing wounds.
Blue Cylon herb
Expendable: 4 silver
Herb that helps to restore wisdom.
As an ingredient in food, it increases the rate of mana regeneration.
This bloody battle for Odhein was not in vain, there were a lot of herbs in this shop, and some were even of very rare species. Weed bought 200 pieces of each herb, a whetstone, thread for sewing, bandages and food. It also didn't turn out that expensive. In fact, the prices at the fort used to be high, but in honor of the victory, the players who fought on the winning side will not get taxes in the shops or on goods for a week. A bonus for the winners of the bloodiest battle.
When Weed was finished, he left the walls of Odhein. His direction lay to the nearest cave, the cave of Basra!
A group of wizards were led by Sollon; in their flowing blue robes, he awaited the approach of the enemy.
"Return quickly, and get yourselves ready!" Sollon screamed. His voice was filled with tension and excitement. Yet, the squad just clicked their tongues.
'The guy's quite mad...'
'That's not all, he just wants to show off in front...'
However, this was the time to remain completely empty of thought. The thief Batu was being pursued by a detachment of enemy, and was approaching the position. The archers who saw the farthest provided the information on the force.
"The enemy is coming!"
"More than 40 people."
"Well done, Batu. Everyone, be ready to attack!"
By Sollon's orders, the magicians lined up and prepared spells. They then began to call out consistently.
"Attack! Billow out, pure flame of rage. Firestorm!"
A properly planned ambush had borne its first fruits. Under fire from many spells, the Basra monsters quickly weakened. But that was only the beginning; Sollon had the group begin a second series of attacks.
The few archers let out a volume of fire that prevented the enemy from closing in on them. The monsters were slowly pushed back. Some of the players used stun arrows, which further slowed the enemy's movement. During this time, the magicians prepared new spells and again did battle.
"Flames of my anger, reflect my feelings and become a wall in the way of my enemies. Wall of Fire!"
"Mother Earth! Stop the unworthy that trample thy space. Mud!"
The cave floor became slippery and the Basra soldiers began to fall as the wall of fire rolled onto them!
"Hot! My throat!"
But the battle was not yet over. Besides wizards, this battle involved close-combat. After two magical attacks and volleys, the monsters' health had decreased by more than 70%.
"Dance of Death!"
Amongst the fighting warriors, a girl flashed by with two daggers. Like a butterfly she flit between opponents and attacked the men of Basra. Vividly, she attracted the attention of males with her looks and graceful dance moves! It was Hwaryeong!
Where Hwaryeong flashed through with her dance, enemies got terrible wounds. In addition to it being a dance, 'Bubi-Bubi' is also a battle dance.
When Hwaryeong began her dance, Sollon and the wizards immediately forgot about the battle and admired her movements. The dance transformed Hwaryeong from a beautiful girl into a beautiful goddess. Sollon's squad had become a fan of this amazing beauty in no time at all.
"Hwaryeong, hold on!"
"Woah. She just winked at me."
"No, not at you, it was at me!"
Magicians threw off their mantles and went to blows with each other. Squad Leader Sollon had to separate them and bring back discipline, but the beauty of the girl had captivated his heart. While all stood and stared in awe at Hwaryeong, another newcomer to the squad, Zephyr did battle with the monsters.
He used the iron line to wound and confound the enemy, only to leave them captive with a sweep of his Hades throw.
Zephyr, the militant fisherman.
When he approached a few enemies, he attacked with lightning movement as the lure was hooked on them and he threw them to Hades.
Under the effect of his ability the monsters retreated from Basra, as Zephyr threw the fishing line to lure more captives. After all of the attacks of the squad, the Basra monsters had almost no health. So after a while, Zephyr and Hwaryeong put all the opponents to rest.
You got 3.49% experience.
In the one fight, Sollon and each member of his squad got 3.5% experience.
Hunting. Another reason why the Odhein fortress attracted so much attention from the various guilds. The area around the fort was filled with different dungeons, and most of the monsters in those gave a lot of experience per kill. On the mainland of Versailles, you can find good hunting areas like Odhein, and bad where you get little experience, overly strong monsters, and worthless drops.
Sollon went to Hwaryeong and with a sugary-sweet voice, and told her:
"I saw a number of butterflies that have besotted me as they flew in front of my eyes. But the most beautiful one of all now stands before me, Hwaryeong."
"I want nothing like that."
"No. Don't be shy. You should be proud of your dance, Hwaryeong."
Yet she said nothing. This was not the first time she heard a praise similar to Sollon, and she remembered and knew what was coming next.
"Ah, remember, I told you this before. I am in the Guild Mavaros, our guild has the Basra cave. So if you join us, you can always get a lot of experience."
Almost all of the most attractive dungeons in Royal Road were in the possession of a guild. For the right to constantly catch the monsters and kill the boss in front of the cave, small local battles occurred. After all, the owner of the dungeon accrues an additional 30% experience from killing the monsters!
Although, battling for a dungeon is very rare because of the complexly intricate relationships between all the guilds in Royal Road. For example, the Mavros guild participated in the battle of Fort Odhein, on the side of Prosperity, which won them the possession of the dungeon Basra. Then if someone tried to take possession of the dungeon, they would not only have to fight the Mavros guild, but other allies of Prosperity.
"Oh, sick!" Hwaryeong muttered unhappily to herself.
After Mapan established links to all the major cities of the kingdom, thus raising levels, he could travel safer and no longer needed Hwaryeong's protection. As a result, he kept applying gentle hints and she finally decided to travel independently. And so it happened, a few days of exploring the United Kingdoms of Briton, she went to the Basra instance. (instance = dungeon/event).
The location was great, the monsters gave a lot of experience, and she was left to fight for herself. Gradually, her dancing started to attract the attention of other players and sometime later they invited her to their group. So a few days later, she happened to be in Sollon's squad. In general, she was satisfied. Only now did it become difficult. Sollon did not want to let her go!
Hwaryeong loved to chat with new and interesting people, but because her dancing was very beautiful, she always found people like Sollon. If Hwaryeong joined with a different group, he would try his best to stop the hunt. Wedging himself inside the party, wasting time by talking or even strike a critical blow with magic and specifically take Hwaryeong away.
In general, he behaved like a little shit, but because the Mavros guild had a big impact on them, no one complained. Sollon then changed tactics and decided to speak again.
"If you leave the squad Hwaryeong, you will have to drop the thought of hunting with my guild."
All would shun Hwaryeong. She had to hunt in Sollon's squad. The only consolation was that she managed to find common ground with the other newcomer in the squad, Zephyr. They often talked, and she liked the guy, though he was much younger than her, and he even listened to her when she spoke.
"Sylph, bind their feet."
Sollon's squad fought the monsters of Basra. The cave was full of monsters, the squad didn't even have to move, they just waited till their thief, Batu would lure a new group of enemies into an ambush. A squad of archers and wizards! First to enter battle were the mages, who use spells to greatly reduce the opponents' health. As they regain mana and begin to produce new spells, the archers join the fray. They shell the monsters and slow down the movements as they wait for the mages' next attack.
Then towards the end of the battle, comes the melee, Hwaryeong and Zephyr.
In general, everything was planned out and kept the magicians attacking. Usually, other teams would take only two or three mages in the cave, as they had to work in a seriously confined space.
However, in Sollon's group, the number of magicians were 8!
Battle, rest, battle, rest.
After each fight with the monsters, Sollon had them take a break. This was not because they were tired of getting experience points; no, they waited until the magicians could recover mana and restart all over. So as of this moment.
"Look, the last monster dropped silver armor!"
"You know what, let's give them to Hwaryeong?" Sollom exclaimed with excitement.
"If that is what Sollon decides, then give it."
The players expressed joy in support of the decision of the party leader, but only on the outside.
Deep down, they were indignant.
'That's the same thing as before with the dancing broad.'
'Damn! And it was my turn to pick up an item...'
'Hrm. Now we have to give all of the best things to her?'
But no matter how irritated they were, the players still remained in Sollon's group. In Basra cave, it was difficult to find another party like this where they can receive such a lot of experience.
Like everyone else, Hwaryeong received her experience points, but since most of the work was carried out by the mages, she came out very discontent at the end.
'My experience is growing... but when can I hunt?'
In her doubt, she turned to one of the soldiers of the squad, Davron.
"If everything goes the way it has, and we do not use our abilities, we won’t gain in strength, right?"
"Huh?" A lack of understanding spread on Davron's face, and then on reflection, she asked another question.
"What about our skills?"
"Well we need them, to, uh, improve."
"And we are hunting in a squad, we get new levels, but our abilities do not grow...."
It was noticeable that Hwaryeong was very worried, and Davron then asked in surprise.
"Of course, there are people like you Hwaryeong, who worry about development of skills, but in this case, shouldn't you gain more levels? First you need to level up, enter into a strong group and get experience"
"But in this case, we will eventually become weaker than the other players without developing our abilities..."
Hwaryeong just recently remembered how she traveled with Mapan, and defended the cart loaded with goods, by dancing. Sometimes she had to dance for several hours and significantly improve technique.
So when she saw the surprised look on Davron, she asked.
"So everybody does this? Right?"
"Of course. All the hunting you have been doing, what made you make that choice, Hwaryeong? First you need to quickly increase, then you can gradually develop in skill, hrm..."
Sollon's squad perfectly fitted Davron's statement. Everyone tried to increase their level as quickly as possible without paying a single bit of attention on their techniques. Since wizards are trained for attack power, then for the remainder, they only gain experience. But for magicians, all was not as rosy.
In a battle, they do not receive damage and therefore their growth in levels, without increasing defense and stamina, make them glass cannons. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the party only fights against weak enemies, even if many, it was of no use to the squad. It was all quiet and very haste-less fights.