Author’s note: More to come this week (at least 2), probably starting Friday.
Clang! Clang! Thunk! Whoosh!
Swords clashed. Arrows flew. Lotuses on the water surface gently swayed, absorbing the unending stream of the red liquid. The battlefield of the two contending races was becoming more and more bloody.
“We’re farming here for over 6 hours and we earned jack shit! I told you guys, we should have been looking for a new boss monster! They drop nice loot and the experience is plentiful!” Tiana grumbled.
“Come on girl, we could be looking for a new boss, but will you learn how to fight from that? Those lizardmen may not drop the best loot, but they are quite capable when it comes down to combat.” Santi countered, slicing another lizardman up.
“Puyo, aren’t you unhappy about not having a decent bow?” Tiana switched gears, looking for support.
“I am, but it’s not really relevant right now. We should be logging off soon, our sleep is way overdue. Besides, look around. We may be holding up because we have had some martial arts training, but those guys around us? Their physical activity probably comes down to PE in highschool. In a few hours, this whole valley will be overrun by monsters.” Puyo shook his head. If he didn’t knew Tiana, he might have backed her up, but that sly vixen is much more than just looks.
“We’re backing out, the greenies are coming, I don’t want to be caught up in a net.” Santi commanded and the party of 8 slowly backed up to the relatively safe area, logging off for the day.
In the cave beside the waterfall sat a man, fiddling with glass vials. There was a restless dog next to him, walking in circles.
“God, didn’t you say we’ll be going in?” Blackie was confused.
“We will. Not yet though. Just eat your meat and save the energy, we’ll be really busy later. If you dare to whine that you’re tired because you haven’t rested now, I’ll show you the stars.” Icicle said blandly, mixing some potions.
Blackie didn’t understand what “showing the stars” meant, it sounded pretty awesome, but God’s tone… there was an ominous hint to it that made him shudder. The black dog sat down and quietly ate his meal, from time to time raising his eyes to see what Icicle was doing.
“How could that dumb dog not understand? Reptiles with spears are scary enough, but the lizardmen archers are capable of using poison! I don’t have any way of dealing with archers for now, so I’ll have to rely on speed. Sigh, my understanding of [Elusive body] is almost non-existent, so I need to avoid the large groups.”
Icicle started making antidotes. Since he couldn’t avoid getting hit by every single arrow, he decided to get a half-measure to deal with the problem.
The number of players in the Red Blooming Valley was getting less and less. Even though new people arrived constantly, boosting the overall numbers, they fell just as quickly, unable to stop the raging horde of two lizardmen tribes.
“We’re so underleveled, how are we supposed to kill those lizardmen now?” one of the players cried out, unable to do anything. Players all around were losing more and more ground.
“We need to back out of the valley, the lizardmen are too numerous and have a constant supply of reinforcements. What’s more, we’re under fire of their archers with no obstacles to hide behind. The water is up to our ankles, making our movements sluggish. Since we can’t get a breather, we’re getting slaughtered like sitting ducks. We have to get to the higher ground and then get those reptiles one by one.” another player said.
The situation looked grim. It was a little after 10am, a new batch of players spawned inside the valley only to be mercilessly killed. Pillars of white light flashed above Vilen Town one after the other. The chubby priest who tried to comfort Icicle before had barely any time to say some encouraging words to new adventurers before another group of dejected players revived.
“Take heart young ones.” the chubby priest patted some of the players on their shoulders. He couldn’t do much at the moment, there were many people who looked horrified. Those were mostly the unlucky souls who just logged in only to be slaughtered. Only now did they understand that Loiterous can actually be cruel.
Red Blooming Valley. At this very moment, this place represented its ambiguous name perfectly. Lotuses on the water surface crazily absorbed the blood, becoming more and more vivid in color. Their scent spread throughout the area, yet not a hint escaped outwards, as if the whole valley was bound by magic.
Both lizardmen tribes were regrouping, preparing to sally out of the valley and deal with the human invaders once and for all. This was their home and those little creatures actually dared to invade it!
“Search the area, don’t let any of those little creatures stay in the perimeter! I won’t allow them to disturb grandpa any longer!” shiny-scaled lizardman barked out the orders in animal language.
“God, the lizardmen are sweeping the area! They’re coming here!” Blackie panicked. However, he saw God’s mouth curl up into an all-knowing smile.
“That’s great, I’ll be back in 30 minutes.” Icicle unsummoned Blackie without explaining anything and logged out.
After using the bathroom, Jeremy went back to his room. There was a previously prepared glass waiting on the nightstand. “Those devs are pretty good, they’re carrying out this event exactly how I would!” he smiled, pouring himself a glass of refreshment.
“Let’s see what’s going on in the [Desolate Catacombs] dungeon Enna and Faura mentioned. Maybe there are some herbs they can gather for me.” Jeremy looked it up on the Loiterous’s official website. The recent progress in the alchemic department was enjoyable for him. It required a lot of work and time, but brought great benefits.
“Okay, what do we have here?” Hundreds of new posts came up, one of them being “Got brutally killed in Red Blooming Valley”, having a staggering 12000 likes. “Alright, Red Blooming Valley, Red Blooming Valley, Red Blooming valley…” sifting through the posts, Jeremy typed the Desolate Catacombs in the searchbar and finally found the right thing.
“I thought it’s going to be at the top yet some noobs spammed the whole section with their miserable deaths, geez. A little fighting spirit wouldn’t hurt.” Jeremy shook his head and clicked on the Desolate Catacombs thread.
“Those guys will probably trade information, I’ll take note of them. It’s clear as dat they’re not releasing screenshots and in-game footage to sound more mysterious.” Jeremy remembered the name of the poster. “Bvan, huh? He sounds like that Eurasia giant who planted spies in other guilds. Maybe that’s him.” he wondered.
“I’ve still got 10 minutes, anything else worthy of my attention?” Jeremy looked through the pinned posts.
“Nope, nope… huh? Ice Mage Trials?”
“Oh, so they have it tough there, huh? Good thing I received a free pass from the crystal, otherwise I would have to travel all the way north.” Jeremy muttered, checking the time. He drank his beverage and logged into Loiterous.
“Huh? You found nothing in the waterfall cave? Weird.” lizardman leader Russh muttered, perplexed. “I could have sworn I felt someone’s presence in there.” he thought. “Maybe it were those few we killed right after?” he quickly disregarded the notion. One human didn’t make a difference. “Are we ready to move out?”
“Reporting to Leader Russh! We’re regrouped and ready to depart. The green lizardmen under the leadership of Rhukka will march alongside us.” one of the officer level lizardmen reported. He was a battle-scarred warrior, classified as a Rare grade monster.
“Good, blow the horn! We’re moving out!” Russh’s sonorous voice rang out through the valley. Soon after, the loud sounds of hundreds of footsteps reverberated through the area.
Icicle spawned inside the cave. His body was immediately shaken by the noise outisde and the spreading tremors of the earth.
“They’re moving out?” Icicle thought as Blackie came out of the mark on his left forearm, quickly entering stealth.
Icicle let out a long breath. “Phew, I timed it right! I would have to run up here from the town if I missed the timing. Luckily, the devs seem to pick round timers.”
Blackie sat next to Icicle and didn’t let out a sound. They both waited until the few thousand strong army departed from the valley.
“Are we going to get in now, God?” Blackie asked with a tinge of excitement. Since the strong monsters were gone, they could kill the rest!
“Not yet, first we need to plunder all of the lotuses! Then we can go in and slaughter whatever’s inside the cave!” Icicle’s amber eyes blazed with fiery light.
Blackie also felt the excitement, he jumped around, as if he couldn’t wait any longer. He clearly forgot what happened just a few hours ago, when he was nearly cleaved in half by the large blue lizardman prince.
“Don’t loiter around here, go inside the cave, try to stay unnoticed. Check how many guards are left inside without alarming the boss.” Icicle ordered, getting out to gather the lotuses. There were way too many next to the caves, ones he couldn’t get before. This time, they were all ready for his taking.
Plucking the last flower, Icicle received a new pop-up.
“Neat.” Icicle examined his inventory, full of the concotion-upgrading flowers. His mouth quickly curled into a satisfied smile. “I can finally get the cure for Marisse’s daughter. That should give me a hefty amount of progress towards the 2nd grade Alchemist.”
“God, I’ve checked the rooms! Around 30% of the lizardmen forces were left behind.” Blackie enthusiastically reported. He wanted to see the lizardman prince getting mowed down by God.
“Alright, let’s go in.” Icicle anticipated this outcome. Let over 50% of the forces go to war while preserving the basic defense of the stronghold. That’s how it has always been done. And if it hasn’t, well, most of the time the families of those who ventured to war ended up dead… or worse.
Entering the gray cave again, Icicle disregarded the bloodstains on the walls and decisively walked through the dark, narrow corridor. He didn’t know how long would the event last, nor what dangers were up ahead, but he knew he had to finish this dungeon up fast! Otherwise, when the players were done with the event, they will flood in here! What’s more, his greedy side wanted to explore the green lizardmen cave as well! Cindy only mentioned the heart of the blue lizardman prince, but there should be a green lizardman equivalent!
“Shaakh!” two lizardmen spearmen yelled in a shrill voice.
“God, they’re calling you an intruder!” Blackie bared his teeth.
“You’re not an intruder if you’re about to own the place.” Icicle joked, unsheathing his sword. He ran straight at the two lizardmen, disregarding their range advantage.
Two spears whistled through the air, stabbing straight at Icicle’s chest. He sidestepped, wasting some of his mana on twisting the body abruptly.
The lizardman on the left side had its torso cut open, quickly followed by two diagonal strikes to the chest. As the blood dripped down, a flash of red light conjured, then came the flames!
Icicle unleashed the [Nasty burn] skill, quickly depleting the lizardman’s health, while the other guard was tangled with Blackie. Although Blackie couldn’t deal almost any damage to the lizardman, he could still be annoying while avoiding the spear.
Icicle used 200 mana in quick succession, dispatching one of the lizardmen. He drank a blue potion which tasted like blueberries and quickly switched to the second one. His mana reservoir at the time was at 370/420, but it quickly went down to 150/420.
“God, you’re killing those lizardmen so fast!” Blackie praised. A little over a minute and both lizardmen were dead.
“Heh, that’s because I made a lot of potions to recover my mana. Only the rich can afford such an extravagant playstyle.” Icicle smirked. As long as it provided him with some advantage, he would spend the “hard earned” gold.
On their way forward, Icicle and Blackie met with another group of two spearmen, this time they were slightly better geared. Icicle tried to cheese his way through by making one of the lizardman drop his weapon.
The spear fell off the lizardman’s bleeding hands. It rolled on the ground for a while. Icicle’s eyes blazed! This was really possible!
At that moment…
The lizardman brough out a saber! A shining steel saber donned with mysterious runes!
“Huh?” Icicle stared. What the hell, those spearmen actually had another weapon! “This is what I get for trying to be smart?!”
Killing the monsters before they lost all of their health was something the developers were aware of. Since the game was supposed to reflect reality, they put such miniscule details in. Just like with humans who were shot, those people don’t lose their life because of heart or brain failure, but because they bled out! The monster system worked in a similar way. You could cut off limbs, stab the eyes, incapacitate etc. However, even if you could do that, there had to be some countermeasures. Thus, the developers decided to give the monsters other ways to fight in case they lost their weapon!
Icicle who has just experienced that was shocked for the first time! Even Red Devil’s and Direwolf Ancestor’s fight wasn’t as astounding.
“Hahaha! This is a great way to gain more loot! Now, instead of a rusty spear, I can actually get such a badass saber! If only they can drop it!” Icicle’s shock quickly receded and turned into pure greed.
Although his damage could be considered top grade amongst the newbies, Icicle still felt it was inadequate. He was looking for a fix with mana, but this process would take a long time. A new equipment or skill could instantenously boost his fighting capacity.
The air around the saber blazed with red glow, approaching Icicle at breathtaking speed. Icicle made a diagonal cut and struck the side of the saber, deflecting the weapon to the side.
Dragging his sword through the saber’s smooth surface, Icicle slashed straight at the lizardman’s thick hands, drawing blood again!
[Nasty burn] was unleashed, making the lizardman shriek from the excruciating pain. Icicle didn’t hesitate, adding a couple wicked slashes to the misery of the screaming lizardman.
Burns, bleeding wounds, dog scratches. With the body almost burned to a crisp, the first lizardman fell.
The second lizardman decided to disregard Blackie and focus on the larger threat that was Icicle. His spear quickly traversed through the air, stabbing the human right at the chest!
“Ugh!” Icicle felt his ribs suffering a tremendous blow, on the verge of breaking. His internal organs churned, sweet taste of blood entering his mouth.
“You little sneaky shit!” Icicle cursed, taking an empty vial out of his inventory and throwing it straight at the reptile’s face!
The glass broke on the blue lizardman’s face, pieces of glass sticking out of its yellow eyes. “Rhaaaaaakh!” it screamed in agony.
As it was clutching its glass-riddled face, Icicle took the spearhead out of his chest, pouring a health potion all over the profusely bleeding wound.
“To think it actually made its way through my armor, fuck!” Icicle cursed. Those spears looked worn-out, but lizardman’s strength was no joke. Not to mention the one who stabbed Icicle used some weird wind skill, making the piercing effect even more powerful.
Dropping the spear to the ground, Icicle walked towards the spearman. “Let’s see how you use your saber now. Oh, you’re a little blind? Well, I’m not even sorry.” Icicle mercilessly slashed the lizardman up, avoiding the wildly thrown punches with ease.
Collecting the measly loot of a few silver coins, Icicle gave Blackie a health potion to drink and a couple meat slabs. Playing the role of a decoy was pretty substantial in those little bouts.
“Where to now?” Icicle asked.
“Mm, there’s a room with a few of those bow and feathers creatures on the right.” Blackie said while munching on the boar meat.
Icicle drank a mana potion and decided to enter the “Archers room”.
In the spacious cave, three lizardmen archers sat on a coffin-shaped stone blocks. Brown quivers full of feathered arrows weighed down on their backs.
“Shaakh!” all three of them suddenly screamed, alerted by the presence of a foreign being.
“Again with this intruder bullshit. You’re so noisy!” Icicle imbued his feet with mana and stepped off!
Curtis got a lead on the Black Hound after searching through the Vilen Town. He was ready to give up the quest, but there was some bitterness left inside him that told him to go on, even if it was this one last time. Thus, he ventured towards the western mountains, where players supposedly saw a player called Icicle trotting alongside a black dog.
Icicle’s whereabouts weren’t hard to find. Players in the region mentioned seeing him go in a direction of the Red Blooming Valley. After all, two players being bullied a by a whole mob was quite a spectacle and Icicle was key figure in the bizarre event.
Curtis quickly learnt that Red Blooming Valley is a place where monster level ranges between 16 and 20. He had to level up a little before he ventured there. That’s why he spent the next few hours meticulously killing boars.
After over 5 hours passed, Curtis barely reached level 15. If not for the party of 7 he met on the way, his leveling speed would be much worse. “Thanks guys, I’ll go to the Red Blooming Valley now.” Curtis was about to say his goodbyes when a terrible thing happened. A horde of lizardmen, both blue and green, rushed out from the north, spreading throlugh the mountains like an elephant stampede!
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!
Hundreds of arrows flew towards the party in a volley, blotting out the sky. Curtis instinctively entered stealth, but even so, he was quickly put to death. It’s as if those monsters saw him clear as day!
Respawning in the church, Curtis saw a crowd of players talking excitedly.
“What the hell happened out there?” one of his party members anxiously asked.
“Did you just die to lizardmen? It’s a new event in the area. A lot of people gathered at the western gates, awaiting the invasion!” a player who died earlier spoke out.
“Why are you all waiting here instead of hurrying to the gates?” Curtis asked. This situation was weird. Were those people too weak to participate?
“Hehe!” the player who spoke earlier scratched his nose. “When invasion events happen in other games, there are usually three scenarios. One is that the village or castle is overrun. Since it’s the Starting Area, this clearly won’t happen. The second one is that the troops are dispatched to deal with the problem. If they are, we’ll know and then we can follow them through the town and killsteal some monsters. The third option is the one that’s most likely!”
“And that is?” Curtis’s curiosity was piqued.
“All adventurers inside the city will receive buffs to fend off the impending danger!”
“This…” as Curtis analyzed, he didn’t know what to think. Those players were either geniuses or complete retards and the worst of it was that only time could tell!