32. Journey West 04
Party members who logged on one after another felt as if they had been struck by lightning. They didn’t witness the two hugging. (They’d long since stopped.) What they saw was a certain almighty Guild Leader doing something that’d be extremely boring to someone with his level – poking at ants.
In actual fact, the family of three were just doing some stretches after their meal. Rather, as everyone called it, grinding.
HereticKing would taunt an ant over and let it munch on him. XiaoYu would then whack and beat at it with his wand. The tiny cat was about the same size as the ant, so it would help out too.
The surrounding ants were then attracted over and surrounded them. Regarding these unwelcome monsters, HereticKing didn’t hesitate. With a few swooshes of his sword, they’d all turn into cripples. Thus, the little cat would smack a few times here and giddily busy itself collecting money.
The onlookers all stiffly stood by the wall. As they waited for the rest of the party to log on, they stared at the duo-plus-a-kitten.
“I always thought Chief disliked carrying others,” Below_The_Moon sighed in awe.
“That’d have to depend on who the other is. But I am just satisfied to see Chief finally doing his duty as a knight,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man nodded in agreement. As he said so, he threw out a few buffs at the couple. The “Taunt” skill was an aggro-attracting treasure for helping others level. Thus, nearly every single knight in the game had been dragged out to grind with newbies at one point or another. This was a great nanny class, right after the rare healing nannies.
It took XiaoYu ten whole minutes of whacking at the stubborn ant in front of him before it keeled over. He was exhausted. It was to be expected. The level gap was too big. Comparatively, the small cat was so very happy and fulfilled from picking up tons of drops that it stuck to HereticKing like glue. It even twined around his legs and rubbed its furry head against his shiny boots.
“I think, if it wasn’t account-bound, the tiny cat might’ve ran away to your Chief.” CopperPlate was quite envious and a little jealous. It was never this affectionate to him. =3=
“Tsk-tsk. Chief’s charms don’t discriminate. Even a human-type Boss monster with the most sophisticated A.I. can’t resist, let alone this foolish little cat.”
“??” CopperPlate wasn’t there for that triple S Level 100 quest.
“Ahem. It’s nothing.” Anyone could feel the daggers HereticKing’s eyes shot out at the gossiping crowd. If they were smart, they should know not to show off the group’s dirty laundry.
“Everyone’s so early,” a sharp voice interjected. The last party member, Ice_For_Miles, finally logged on. The agreed-upon meeting time was still quite far off. Everyone was obviously eager to get the quest finished as fast as possible. At the very least, they should make some headway and not just stare at the unchanging “head west” hint.
When they emerged onto the surface once more, the sky was growing darker. However, this didn’t affect their charge west. After the incident down at the Ant Cave, they’d gained a mutual understanding of each other. The unfamiliarity from when they first partied up was gone, and a certain degree of trust and unspoken bond.
Since they were still travelling through the Ant region, they inevitably bumped into a few monsters and ants scurrying around in search of food. But, by some stroke of luck, they didn’t meet a single player at all. This was also normal. If it weren’t for exploration, questing or grinding, no one would willingly venture into this torturous place.
Still, this luck would vanish into thin air within the next few minutes. Far off in the distant, a stampede of hoofbeats could be heard. Vast amounts of dust were thrown into the air by them, causing everyone to be wary. With no other choice, the party slowed down and hoped theses were just some random passers-by.
The other group of players had actually long noticed movement coming from the party’s direction. They too slowed down. When both parties had a clear view of each other, they were all stunned. Evidently, they knew each other.
It can only be said that both parties had an eye-catching mount, different from the average brown horse. HereticKing’s big white Thousand-Li Horse stood out like a crane among chickens. The other party also had a purebred red horse which stood out. If one asked Heretic Demons guild members about any red horses they knew of, then the mount of GloryOfTheWorld, the Guild Leader of their archnemesis Wings, would instantly pop up.
“I didn’t think I’d bump into Chief Heretic in a place like this. What a coincidence.” It really was GloryOfTheWorld himself. Behind him were ten or so Wings members.
“Mn,” HereticKing greeted with a nod. He was always so nonchalant about irrelevant people. It wasn’t because the two guilds have a history. Frankly, there was nothing going on between him and Glory. There weren’t any grudges being held and neither interacted with the other much. A face-to-face interaction like this could be counted on one hand alone.
“Questing? What a strange group.” GloryOfTheWorld kept up his smile. His gaze sizing up XiaoYu who stood beside HereticKing. From his equipment and Peco Peco, he must not have reached his Second Job Change. However, he’s surrounded by several of Heretic Demons’ top members. He’s so well-protected. No matter what, it’s abnormal. Could there be something special about this little healer?
“Hehe. Even the almighty Glory himself is questing in the desert? What a great coincidence, but we’re rushing for time. Let’s get a drink together next time,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man replied back with a smile too.
“Boss, this is a great chance. Are we not PvP-ing them?” It was clear GloryOfTheWorld’s side had the advantage in numbers. The other party even had a newbie in his first Job.
“If you’ve got the time to think about PvP, why not spend it on getting your levels up?” GloryOfTheWorld actually really wanted to ask HereticKing out for a meetup one day. That is, purely just for sparring and not for any other reasons. “Anyway, they’re not all part of Heretic Demons. I’ve said before that no matter what issues there are between guilds, we cannot drag other innocent players in.” After a side glance as the now silent subordinate, the Wings party continued on with their quest too.
“But I’ve very curious. Just what strange quest did they accept? They’re actually bringing a newbie in his first Job with them,” pondered LittleZhuGe – one of the vice guild leaders of Wings – while riding on his mount with his chin in his hand.
“Great strategist, use your mystical calculations to calculate just what are they going to do?” cried a Wings member.
“Shoo. Do you think I’m a fortune teller? But since HereticKing’s so careful about protecting a newbie, then he must be key to the quest. I’m guessing it’s at least an S-rank quest.” Why else would someone personally gather highly-skilled veterans to protect a newbie? It can’t just be for some trivial F-rank quest.
LittleZhuGe’s guess was almost spot-on. Unfortunately, he didn’t know that even if XiaoYu had accepted an F-ranked quest, HereticKing would go along with XiaoYu. After all, it was the great Guild Leader himself who dragged XiaoYu out and slack off work today. If it wasn’t due to the quest’s unpredictability, HereticKing wouldn’t have risked it. The two of them would probably be strolling lazily somewhere else.
“Heh. I thought a fight would break out.” CopperPlate looked back. The Wings party was already gone from view. He patted his chest in relief. It was an open secret in the server that Wings and Heretic Demons disliked each other.
“If the ones leading the party weren’t Glory and ZhuGe, a fight might have,” answered Below_The_Moon in a serious tone.
“The high-ranking members of our guilds rarely ever come in contact. There’s just too much friction between the average members of our two guilds. This is unavoidable.” If the other party consisted of just the average guild members, there was a chance they’d try and kill a few guild leaders to show off. If the heads of the two guilds meet up though, it’d be difficult for a fight to break out. No one wanted to truly and utterly make an enemy of the other.
“And if a fight did break out, they’d have to be prepared for retaliation from two big guilds,” Chrysanthemum suddenly piped up with a mysterious smile.
“…Right. I forgot. You’re part of the Wolf Clan.” She’s even a member of the fierce Healers Alliance from the forums. By the way, CopperPlate and NonMeta weren’t part of any guild. They’re used to being free.
“Mn. Mn.” If XiaoYu, a new healer chick, was dragged in because of a guild’s vengeance, then she wouldn’t mind telling everyone just how cruel Wings was to an innocent little healer. That would stir up the pack of girl’s abundance of motherly love.
“The hint…” The rare few words from NonMeta sounded out.
“!!!” Everyone wasn’t shocked at the fact NonMeta spoke, but because the quest’s hint changed. From two simple words, it’s now a sentence: In a cave further off towards northwest.