26. Mysterious Egg
The bird was caught, but XiaoYu needed to buy the appropriate riding equipment for it from the Mount shop before he could ride it properly. Thus, XiaoYu kept the Peco Peco in his Mount Inventory for the moment.
XiaoYu snuck a glance at HereticKing. He was standing some distance away with a compass and trying to get an accurate reading on where they were. It was likely they’d be heading to some other place in the desert next.
XiaoYu scratched the back of his head. The other didn’t display any distaste or dislike for their current situation. It wouldn’t be good if he tried to object and try to leave alone, so XiaoYu gently walked over, thinking to ask about where they’re going next or something.
When HereticKing heard XiaoYu’s startled cry coming from behind him and the sound of something heavy dropping onto the ground, he quickly turned around, thinking there was a monster nearby. All he saw was XiaoYu sprawled on the ground with his limbs thrown out and a bright red -1 floating above him.
“! What happened?” Strangely enough, there was not a monster’s shadow in sight. HereticKing bent down to help XiaoYu up. As he did so, he witnessed that cute cat-like face covered in sand. He was also pouting in dismay. “Pfft.” HereticKing was still unable to stop himself from laughing.
“Peh. Peh…” Bai XiaoYu spat out the sand in his mouth and looked back in search of the source of his misfortune.
On the flat desert plains, somehow, there was a white oblong object protruding out from the ground. It was as if a large egg was buried in the sands and only a tiny portion of it was being exposed.
The tiny cat was crouching next to the unknown pale object that was about the same size as it. It pawed at the sand covering the object, hoping to figure out just what kind of mystical being was it to make its owner collapse in a whirlwind.
“Hahahahaha!” HereticKing seemed to already know what it was. He laughed so hard that he had to bend over. The only thing he didn’t do was slam his fist on the ground in his laughter.
XiaoYu thought that laughter sounded oddly familiar, but now was not the time. He didn’t know what the object was yet. Hence, he knelt down beside that thing and started pawing sand away with the small cat.
It really was an egg, pale white and bulky. XiaoYu wondered if such a large egg could be a dinosaur’s egg.
“That’s the egg of a Peco Peco bird. It’s my first time seeing someone get injured by it. Hahaha…” HereticKing thought this trip was really worth his effort. As expected, the two cats would always bring him joy.
Egg-type monsters are the players’ most favourite monsters of all. They won’t attack and even when being attacked, they won’t attack back. So, it’d go on until the players kill it by cracking its shell. It could also act as a food source for players camping outside. With just a few minutes over the fire, it’d be edible. It’d also lower the Hunger meter rather substantially. The only issue was Egg monsters were too hard to find. They’d always be well-hidden by its fellow mature monsters.
A completely harmless bird’s egg actually tripped XiaoYu up. It was even such a hard fall the game decided XiaoYu was injured. It was probably the first time such a thing had happened in this game’s life. Whoever witnessing a scene like this would at least fall over laughing once.
Great. The tiny bit of courage XiaoYu spent so much effort gathering was instantly shattered. He hung his head low, blushing deep red. His finger would occasionally poke at the egg. The tiny cat mimicked its wonder. Left paw. Right paw. It’d scratch at the egg, as if the egg was a ball for it to play with.
“Alright. You can take your revenge on it however you like. Once this egg is deal with, I’ll take you to the desert’s oasis for some sightseeing.” HereticKing ruffled XiaoYu’s hair. At least, the other didn’t run away with the little one in his arms like last time. Otherwise, XiaoYu would likely never sneak out with him to play again.
“Oh…okay.” XiaoYu thought about it for a moment and decided to put the egg into his bag. There’d be more chances for revenge in the future. Once he became a chef, he’ll fry it up, steam it, mash it, boil it. He can do anything to it then.
“Ding. Players LuckyCat, HereticKing, do you accept the hidden S-rank quest: Escort the brave Peco Peco egg back to its village?”
“Hah?” The sudden notification sounding out in their ears stunned the both of them.
“Open your Inventory. Look at the egg’s description.”
“What is it? Share it with me.” HereticKing couldn’t see the description of an item in XiaoYu’s bag. However, quest information could be shared within the party. He should be able to know what’s going on with the egg that’d made LuckyCat look so awkward and speechless.
XiaoYu was reluctant to let HereticKing read the egg’s description, but he still shared the tab to the other. This quest might be impossible to finish solo after all.
(Brave) Peco Peco Egg: A brave egg that could injure a player. It’s revered by the Peco Peco tribe and would become the next Peco Peco King.
“…” HereticKing had thought his luck in quests was already that, but he didn’t think this big cat would be quite a hard worker too. With just a simple trip, he found an S-ranked quest. Not only that, he didn’t smash the egg into smithereens in a fit of rage from all the embarrassment. Instead, he just kept the egg as if it was all normal.
“Should we accept this quest?” Even in death, XiaoYu would never have thought his impulse to seek revenge later would be the trigger for a secret quest. Still, he’d never accepted such a high-ranking quest. He’d decide after seeking the opinion of an experienced player.
“Accept.” The rewards for quests at ranked S and above were very generous. Quests like that could only be stumbled upon based on luck and not wishes. While quests above S-rank could be extremely hard to complete, it could also be ranked that highly because it had harsh trigger conditions even if it was rather easy to complete. This quest before them was very likely to be in the second category.
“Ding. Players LuckyCat, HereticKing, accepted the hidden S-ranked quest: Escort the brave Peco Peco egg back to its home. Please complete this quest within 10 days.”
But where was the Peco Peco’s village?
The Quest tab only indicated to walk west. How far west did they have to go? They’d only know once they start heading west. With such vague directions, they had to head back and review their plans.
The further one ventured into the desert, the more dangerous it was. Quicksand, unpredictable hurricanes, large venomous scorpions, etc. In such atrocious and deadly environment, a major accident could kill even a high-level player.
The time limit was ten days. Considering how humane the game was for taking into consideration the players’ real life, this quest should be completable within 48 hours if one didn’t eat or sleep. The quest could also be shared within the party, that meant the quest could be completed by up to ten players. (The party limit was capped at 10 players.)
“Ouch!” XiaoYu suddenly covered his ears with his hands.
“What is it now?” HereticKing thought he’d been 120% careful this time. How could LuckyCat get ambushed again? But he soon knew what happened in the next few seconds.
“Chief! How could you steal my lucky cat away?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s demonic voice rang out from afar. It made one cover their ears on impulse. However, that wouldn’t stop the spell from being heard.
“I_Am_A_Poor_Man roared at you?”
“Mn…” XiaoYu rubbed his temples and lowered the volume settings in the game. He’d just received I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s message about carrying him for some speed grinding in the Zombie Cave. (The truth was he’d promised HereticKing he’d personally gather materials himself yesterday, but it would be too lonely to do it alone. So, he was thinking of bringing LuckyCat along to grind while he acted as a bodyguard.)
In the end, when XiaoYu told I_Am_A_Poor_Man he was out in the desert with HereticKing, the other immediately roared, “What? You eloped with Chief?” The shockwaves made XiaoYu see stars.
“When did he become yours?” For some unknown reason, HereticKing didn’t like I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s tone yet he didn’t realise his own voice carried hints of the sour scent of jealousy.
“Huh? Chief, did you eat some vinegar? Are you jealous?”
“Tee-hee. Got it. I get it. But, why are you bringing LuckyCat to the desert for? You’re not holding onto a grudge about yesterday, right? He didn’t mean to…”
“To catch a bird.”
“W-We didn’t elope. We’re capturing Peco Peco.” When the spell died out, XiaoYu recalled the last line the other shouted at him and instantly attempted to clear up the relationship between him and HereticKing. They’re only mount-hunting…while a little accident happened. >///<
“Hee-hee.” Upon hearing the two replies coming in at the same time about bird-hunting, I_Am_A_Poor_Man thought that their minds were rather alike. They might as well just go elope.
Wait…” Chief? You’re online. Why are you hiding yourself?” It was only then that he realised Chief’s icon wasn’t lit up. If LuckyCat hadn’t told him they were together then, he wouldn’t have gone to shout at Chief.
“To avoid harassment.” Specifically, by you.
“That’s not fair! I’m working overtime every day to the point where I don’t even have time to go dating! But you’re sneaking off to a date with our little friend!” I_Am_A_Poor_Man was filled with rage at the injustice and stalked around the outer walls of the game-generated homes in the capital. It made any by-passers stay far away from him.
“Shush. There’s an S-rank.”
“Chief, did your RNG act up again? What kind of S-rank quest?”
“LuckyCat triggered it. Party-shared. Investigate the areas west of the Peco Peco region.”
“Roger.” Complaining was one thing, but he should still do his best to finish the work Chief assigned to him. What kind of quest did LuckyCat’s luck summon? Perhaps he could join in and gain some experience XDD.
Vinegar = Jealousy: It’s a common saying in Chinese to mean one is jealous. Has some historical context, but whether it’s true is another story. Simplified retelling can be found here.