Loiterous Chapter 42

After eating a hearty meal, Jason slowly washed the dishes. His thoughts drifted to the time he spent in Loiterous.

Waking from the pensive state, Jason smiled slightly. “The meeting is happening in less than 4 days, I have to beat that fishie by then.”

Since it was only a few hours past afternoon, Jason decided to go back into the game. His day activities in Loiterous ended, but the night was the perfect time to utilise his new set!

***

South of Vilen Town, night merchants, privateers and their bodyguards vigilantly watched a black werewolf figure strolling across the white sand beach. Despite their vigilant attitudes, the werewolf and a black hound following him crossed the pier without any trouble.

At the top of the fort, the night shift of defenders glanced at the human-like wolf walking on two legs, turning their heads away soon after. There were way too many pranksters who liked to dress up to scare people. As long as they were harmless, there was no need for them to intervene.

The black werewolf stopped in front of the Mercenary Guild and unceremoniously walked in.

Ding! ding!

Magent sat behind his desk, lighting up a cigar. As the bell rang, he noticed a black werewolf and a quite robust dog enter his establishment.

“Is there anything you need?” Magent asked lazily.

Ignoring the Master of the guild, the fur-coated person walked up to the mission board located on the right side of the building. Various tasks were pinned to the wooden board, ranging from finding some items and killing monsters to apprehending criminals.

“If you want to access those tasks, you need to register.” Magent said indifferently, releasing a puff of smoke. Mutes like this newcomer happened from time to time.

Swiping a bunch of the listed requests, the figure dressed in black direwolf fur stopped in front of Magent’s desk.

Magent glanced at the figure’s hand filled with a lot of tasks and scoffed. “Newbies…” Nonetheless, he searched for a new member card.

“State your name or nickname and then pour a bit of your mana into both of those. The registration fee is 1 gold coin.”

“Night Terror.” the figure said, tapping the two sleek, black cards. After shoving a shiny gold coin on the desk, the black werewolf grabbed one of the cards and said “I’ll be back at dawn.”

Magent smirked as he looked at the entrance “A fancy nickname yet weak as shit… typical.”

***

Western Mountain area.

Circling around the grey rock face, Icicle tried to spot any vines that could help him ascend the giant rock. “Where are you little ivy, help me ascend this pile of stone…” he hummed, scanning the rock face with his night vision.

Moonlight spilled onto the black direwolf fur Icicle wore, suffusing it with energy. The storage option of his set greedily absorbed the moonlight, making Icicle feel a thin layer of protection spreading throughout the direwolf onesie.

In the point where rock face winded to the right side, Icicle noticed a giant oak tree blocking his vision. Making sure not to miss the potential climbing spot, Icicle walked around it.

“I knew it!” Icicle glanced at the rock face covered with vines stretching all the way to the top. Most people wouldn’t explore this area so meticulously. Honestly, neither would Icicle if not for the task he took from the Mercenary Guild.

“Now which one is durable enough?” he thought, pulling on the veins to test them.

Meanwhile, Blackie pounced around the grasslands, hunting boars, bears and snakes. After receiving the half of lizardman heart, Blackie’s fighting power rose dramatically.

Icicle wanted him to get used to [Sense presence] and develop some battle instincts, in case the dog met a strong creature while scouting. Last time in the Lizardmen Cave taught Icicle enough. Without Blackie to scout for him, everything was much harder.

Finding an appropriate vine, Icicle tugged on it, looking back to check up on Blackie. “Why am I even worrying about that dog? He reached the Advanced level of [Sense presence] and [Hide presence] at the get go… Just how strong is that second blood within him?”

“Meh, maybe it’s just a canine’s advantage. It can’t compare to dragons breathing fire after all.” Icicle remembered the instance with Rekk and smiled wryly. Compared to that, Blackie’s extraordinariness was a drop in the sea.

Climbing the steep grey rock face, Icicle stayed vigilant. The stars may give false sense of security, but he knew that no eagle is going to let their eggs be stolen without any repurcussions. Since it was a quest, Icicle hoped he wouldn’t climb this steep rock face for nothing.

After climbing up for a while, Icicle swayed on the vine, hopping onto a protruding rock shelf. “Only a bit more to go.” Icicle took a swig from his canteen to refresh himself.

***

“Ugh!” with a final push, Icicle finally stood on top of the rock face. Pieces of rubble lay around the top of the grey rocky surface. The moon seemed much closer than before, making Icicle grin. “I guess this is where the wolves would normally howl.”

Looking at the ground down below, Icicle furrowed his brows. “It will be tough to descend once I get the job done. If only I could trust Blackie not to crush those eggs, I would have taken that scoundrel with me for a covert operation…”

Regretfully shaking his head, Icicle located three eagle nests on the top shelf of the rock face. “Marisse’s lenses surely come in handy!” The extra nigthvision ability saved him a lot of time during this venture.

“No eagle presence here, no papa there as well and… no guardian in the third nest!” Icicle scanned with his presence, hiding behind a rock nearby.

Without wasting time, he approached the three eagle nests, looking for the eggs. “There’s one, lucky!” Icicle grabbed the white egg and pocketed it into his inventory. By the time he started rummaging through the second nest, a sharp eagle cry resounded in the sky.

“No way!” Icicle exclaimed, seeing the creature’s stats.

[Night Eagle] [Level 14] [Rare]
HP: 700
Attack: 25-39

Night Eagles are the prime examples of night hunters. Known for having a small amount of offspring, Night Eagles developed a strong sense of parenthood.

“No wonder no one picked this task up, it’s a fucking trap for noobs!” Icicle cursed. As if stealing eagle eggs wasn’t enough, he stumbled upon a vindictive pack of birds.

The eagle’s cries were getting nearer and nearer. Icicle scurried to the third nest and stole one of the three eggs laying there. He knew that if he took all of them, he would be chased till the end of the earth. Thus, he had to compromise.

“Gotta run!”

Looking for the way back, Icicle ran at top speed to the location of the vine. Letting the eagles encircle and then pick on him was not something he longed for. “There!” Icicle spotted the vine going down at his left.

A quicklky moving presence entered Icicle’s range of detection. He spinned on his foot, immediately unleashing [Cleave] with his claws.

An X mark flew towards the Night Eagle, but it was completely disregarded. A shadow of a Silverfang Direwolf appeared behind Icicle, roaring at the eagle to slow it down. Unfortunately, while the bird was enraged, it felt no fear. With its feathers being pierced by the sharp claws of Icicle’s, the eagle continued flying straight at him!

Bam!

Slamming directly into him, the Night Eagle pushed Icicleover the rock face.

“Shit!” Icicle cursed, falling down. He created a film of mana around his body to reduce the damage of the incoming impact. [Liquid membrane] formed around him while he took out a medium vial of red liquid and drained it preemptively.

Thud!

Icicle landed on the rock shelf he stood on before. The impact took his breath away, making his back ache as if he broke all of his bones.

-200!

Fortunately, the shelf was located near the top of rock face, so the damage Icicle received wasn’t too extensive.

Despite the pain, Icicle had to hurry up and escape. Two Night Eagles were quickly approaching his position.

“Cough!” Icicle spat blood, wiping his mouth afterwards. Sitting up with difficulty, he brought out his [Fiery Blazing Sword], releasing its [Nasty burn] skill straight at the approaching Night Eagle.

With a sharp cry, the black eagle beat its wings furiously, trying to extinguish the flames. Icicle grabbed the vine and half falling, half climbing down, he descended the rock face. His legs were barely keeping themselves on the protruding rocks.

Looking up, Icicle’s face paled.

“Oh no you won’t!” Icicle cried out as he saw the Night Eagle swiping its talons against the top of the ivy he held on.

Knowing that the ivy won’t hold out for long, Icicle let himself free fall, grabbing the Ivy from time to time to reduce his speed slightly. This action put a lot of strain on his hands and feet.

Snap!

The vine was cut. Icicle fell, casting [Healing drizzle] and [Liquid membrane] on himself. The thin film of mana reappeared to soak up some damage as his body helplessly fell.

***

Snap! Snap! Snap!

Icicle bounced off the giant oak tree’s branches, breaking a few in the process. He spinned and tumbled until he finally fell on his bottom.

Looking at his status, Icicle massaged his soaring back. “Great, 15 HP left.” he mumbled.

Eagle cries pierced the air outside, utterly unsatisfied with the way things played out.

Icicle ignored the birds as he confusedly looked around. “Where the hell am I?”

Icicle looked at the confined space he was in. He was sure that he was sitting on the cold ground, yet wood was all around him. Looking up, he saw the starry sky.

“Is it an empty tree trunkkkkk-” the ground beneath Icicle sunk, making him fall underground.

Falling on his ass again, accompanied by a lot of rubble, Icicle clutched his head.  Heaving a long breath, he looked up. The stars seemed even more distant, while to his left and right were tunnels that seemed to never end. “This is so weird.”

***

Under the giant oak tree in the next to the winding rock face, Blackie dug up a hole and jumped in. “Are you alright God?” he asked, seeing Icicle’s disheveled state. It was even worse than when God let him eat a bunch of fish.

“It’s alright, I just need to rest for a while.” Icicle said, sitting right below the hole which he fell from. The moonlight suffused his figure, boosting his health and mana regeneration. He was hoping that his physique improves with time, that’s why he didn’t use any potions.

“Check the tunnels and report back.” Icicle pointed ahead, ruffling Blackie’s fur.

“Yes God!’ Blackie happily scurried through the dark tunnel.

After a while, Blackie came back to see Icicle with his hands spread, two tiny water droplets swirling.

“God, there are some weird pink monsters carrying magic wands patrolling the tunnel.” Blackie reported, wagging his tail.

“Kobolds, huh?” Icicle matched the description with the one from the forums. One thing was bugging him. Kobolds were supposed to reside within the [Desolated Catacombs] dungeon! How come they were so far from their original residence?

“Check our back as well.” Icicle threw a slab of boar meat to Blackie.

***

Boom!

A raging fireball exploded on the side of the tunnel. Blackie lunged onto the Kobold, his fangs sinking into the pinkish reptile’s neck.

Behind Blackie was a scene of carnage. Four mutilated bodies of Kobolds laid on the ground limply. Gruesome claw marks spread all over their bellies and faces, as if a genuine werewolf mauled them.

However, that wasn’t the end of it. Swipe after swipe, a dance of death continued. Blood was spilled and the flesh fell off as Kobolds’ bodies were mercilessly mauled.

Finishing the job, Icicle took off the wolf hood to catch a breather. Sweat trickled down his forehead.

“I still can’t get into the feeling I had earlier.” he sighed regretfully. In the waters of the underground lake, while fighting against the last black-scaled catfish, Icicle felt as if he blended with the water, allowing him to reach an extreme speed. The catfish that was at least 5m away from him was cut in half by the wooden sword in one strike. When he looked back, a blurry afterimage of him blended with the water.

Contrary to Icicle’s initial guess, it wasn’t a fluke. When he looked at his status afterwards, Icicle noticed that his [Elusive body] finally reached level 1.

Now, however, he wasn’t able to get into this elusive state. “I guess it will come with time and practice.”

With the Kobold bodies not disintegrating, Icicle was forced to pick up the staffs and the other Kobold belongings from their robes. More often than not, Kobolds carried colorful round stone trinkets. Unsure about their usage, Icicle pocketed them for later.. Either Cindy or Adian should be able to identify them for him.

***

Walking down the tunnel, Icicle looked at his map. He walked from the western mountain area straight to the north where Desolated Catacombs laid!

Puzzled by the Kobolds’ desire for protection and secrecy, Icicle continued down the road, eliminating another 10 Kobolds with the help of Blackie.

Status:

Name: Icicle
Race: Human
Level: 17
Experience: 72 240 / 210 000
Class: Water Mage Apprentice
Subclass: Alchemist (1st grade)
Titles: Pioneer

Points left to distribute: 18

Statistics:

HP: 450
Mana: 460
Strength: 24
Dexterity: 51
Vitality: 28
Intelligence: 25
Wisdom: 32
Charisma: 30
Luck: 10
Faith: 5

Skills:

[Identify] (passive) – lets you see the basic information of lowest grade items, NPCs and monsters. You can see the information of monsters who are no more than 5 levels higher than you.

[Craftsman’s splendor] (passive) – increases your chance of making a better quality product by 5%.

[Intermediary sense presence] (passive) – allows you to sense the targets of [Hide presence] level and lower in 5m range.

[Flawless mana control] (passive) – allows the user to dual-wield the mana freely. Current attainment: level 5, 38%

[Healing drizzle] – healing spell. Restores health equal to the user’s wisdom. +5 mana per each additional target.

[Water prison] – restricting ability. Enclose the target in a sphere of water for the duration of 3 seconds + Wisdom/100 seconds.

[Liquid membrane] – protective shield. Absorbs physical damage equal to wisdom stat or magical damage equal to 5 times the wisdom stat. Blocks most crowd control effects until broken.

[Elusive body] – movement and mana enhancement skill. Current attainment: level 1, 5%.

“Three more levels until I can use the [Purified water] skillbook.” Icicle mumbled after checking his stats. Sending Blackie to scout ahead, he approached the location of the dungeon.

***

Inside Desolated Catacombs, Faura and her party rested next to a bonfire. A huge brass doors stood in front of them, next to which laid a bunch of elite Kobold corpses.

A few moments ago, another party was duking it off with those guardians. After finding a key to the possible vault, Faura didn’t want to give up and decided to wipe the other party out with the help of the monsters.

The key role was alloted to Enna, who had to timingly use her new skill – [Light Swirl], to blind the enemies while the Kobolds take care of them.

Although the strategy didn’t work out as well as they planned, with SilentStep hiding in the shadows and FieryRed taking care of the front, the party managed to emerge victorious only with a few temporary PK statuses.

“We’ve rested enough. If we dawdle any longer, those guys might come back.” Faura looked around warily.

“If we were them, we definitely would. They wiped out because of us.” Inferno shrugged. Conflicts of interests in games often ended up with player killing.

“Let’s hope they don’t have the stones necessary to enter then.” Faura nodded and approached the giant brass doors.

“3…2…1! Let’s go in!” After counting down, Faura and the rest pushed the doors open.

Creak!

Torchlight from the outside illuminated the treasure room dimly. A large, 3m wide gilded chest stood in the middle of the room, reflecting the light of the flame.

Approaching the chest, excitement washed over the party, letting them lose their guard.

Enna and SilentStep were the only one looking around vigilantly. “What’s this smell?” Enna sniffed around cutely.

SilentStep furrowed his brows before screaming “It’s an ambush!”

A pair of amber eyes emerged from the darkness, staring straight at the group of six.

Thud!

Inferno was the first to fall down, clutching his stomach and coughing.

Headshot nocked an arrow and as he was about to shoot, something attacked him from behind.

Growl!

Faura started casting [Lightning bolt] at the four-legged assailant while Enna moved out to meet with the front attacker.

AWOOOOOOOOOOO!

A shadow of a giant white direwolf emerged, releasing its majestic aura. Faura was slammed into by a swift, black creature while in front of Enna stood a black werewolf.

“Wait, y–you’re-” Enna stuttered. She recognized the familiar presence.

SilentStep emerged from the shadows, trying to backstab the werewolf first. His efforts were met with a [Water prison] encasing him followed by a punch to the face.

Enna’s head jolted backwards as a flick landed on her forehead.

“That hurt, you silly goose!” Enna punched the black werewolf in front of her lightly.

Taking off the wolf hood, Icicle smiled wryly at the five lying on the floor. “You guys are so easy to ambush.”

“You have some balls to tease us after ditching us the last time!” Faura grumbled, dusting her robes and sending Icicle a glare.

“Real life called, what do?” Icicle shrugged innocently.

“How did you get in here?” Enna asked with puzzlement. It took them a lot of time to locate this place.

“I’ll show you guys later, it seems we have company.” Icicle smiled gently.

Blackie reported the size of the group to Icicle, waiting for orders near the open brass door.

“Shit, we’ve been spotted! Go in, now!” eight players ran into the room, spells and arrows whistling through the air.

One of the arrows struck Icicle’s shoulder. The fur didn’t seem damaged as the moonlight energy stored inside took care of the blow.

Icicle has been deemed a victim of PK aggression, giving him 2 minutes total to find justice, 15 seconds for each player.

A devilish grin spread around his face as he jumped right into action. [Water prison] encased two of the players in the back, while Blackie assaulted the enemy Priest.

SilentStep and Headshot focused on the Warrior while, Faura and Inferno provided cover for FieryRed in the front.

Dodging a fireball hurling straight at him, Icicle unleashed [Cleave], leaving a giant gaping X wound in the Archer’s chest. Soon after his strike, 7 spheres of fire bombarded the vicinity of the Archer, depriving him of life.

Enna vigorously cast magic barriers around her teammates, saving them from instant death. She hurled a ball of light to blind the enemies.

Since Icicle wasn’t in the party, the effect applied to him as well. Fortunately, he was able to find his way through the usage of [Sense presence].

Under the coordinated attacks, the rest of the attacking party was quickly killed off.

***

“Do you have a key for this chest?” Icicle asked Faura who was all fidgety with excitement.

“Yes, we have found it after killing the Elite Kobold in a secret room.” Faura nodded, crouching next to the chest. The lock clicked and the coffer opened.

A bunch of gold coins and colorful stones laid in the chest. A pair of silver daggers and three staffs with different colored crystals were mixed within the glittering sea of gold.

While Faura, Inferno’s and Enna’s attention focused on the staffs and polished crystals, Icicle reached out to a blue stone.

“What a familiar feeling.” he caressed the stone, trying to think of what gave him the familiar sensation. “No way!”

Silently activating the tiny water droplet, the swirl it created made Icicle understand.. “It’s the feeling of my mana changing into water element! Those must be some kind of water mana stones!”

Blackie stood on his hind paws and huffed as the black stones in the coffer drew his attention. “God, why do those black rocks feel so familiar?”

“Hey guys.” Icicle clapped his hands to draw the attention of the bunch. “How about this, I’ll take the blue and black stones while you take the rest. I took care of the boss monster guarding this place after all.” Icicle pointed to the side where a row of neatly arranged corpses laid.

“Do they have any value?” Faura asked indifferently.

“NPCs can use them to boost their power.” Icicle said straightforwardly.

“Why do you need them though?” Enna frowned. Icicle seemed to leave them a lot of precious items for no reason.

“I pissed off a dev so I didn’t have system assist at the start. I learned magic the way NPCs cast it, so I need those beauties.” Icicle said frankly. “Just look at my dog, it’s as if he saw a fridge full of steak.”

Indeed, after looking at Blackie’s unusual behavior Faura and Enna were fully convinced. “Just take them.” Faura said. “But it’s only fair if we take the rest.”

“Naturally.” Icicle grabbed all of the black and blue stones and headed towards the hidden trapdoor.

“I suggest you hurry up and use this trapdoor too, unless you want to play with yet another party.” Icicle grinned and entered the underground tunnel.

“Thank God he doesn’t know about those polished crystals. If he knew how much they can boost the damage of the user, we wouldn’t get away with such a cheap deal.” Faura grinned cheekily.

***

On his way back through the tunnel, Faura and the rest caught up to Icicle, barraging him with questions and complains. Seeing Enna’s cheeky smile, Icicle decided to make life a little harder for her, telling the rest to learn [Sense presence] directly from her, since she has a knack for it.

After chatting for a while, Faura finally asked, “Where does this tunnel lead to?”

“Western mountain area, quite close to Vilen Town.”

“How did you even find this place?” Headshot looked at the brown soil surrounding him and frowned. The torchlight was barely enough to illuminate the tunnel, yet Icicle walked in front as if he could see everything.

“You wouldn’t believe me even if I told you.” Icicle said, shaking his head. He wouldn’t believe in the story himself, why would others?

“Come on, tell us!” Enna nudged him from behind.

“Well…” Icicle harrumphed. “I poached a few eagle eggs on top of a rock face, then those eagles chased me down, making me fall off…”

“And?” Enna asked with curiosity.

“Heheh, the rest you’ll see yourself. We’re here.” Icicle pointed ahead where moonlight shined through.

***

“Did we really have to crawl through earth and mud instead of just destroying a part of that tree?” Faura grumbled. Her stainless Mage robe was now ruined.

“I told you to undress yourself but you just threw a bunch of perverts at me.” Icicle shrugged.

“Besides, if you made a hole in the tree, you would let others know there’s a secret passage there. Now, if you ever need to enter that vault again, you can choose this tunnel for a free pass.”

“That’s way too much trouble for too little of a benefit!” Faura pouted, making the rest laugh at her fake anger.

“Hm? Where’s the redhead?” Icicle looked around and noticed FieryRed attacking a bunch of bears.

“Don’t mind her, she always does that when she gets her hands on a new sword.” Enna shook her head.

“Well then, we will return to the Mage Guild. If those stones are as valuable as you described, Cindy will offer us quite a good price for them.” Faura grinned, disregarding her disheveled appearance.

“I need to get some sleep, so I’ll catch you guys later. Say hi to Cindy for me.” Icicle said his goodbyes and logged off.

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