35. Retaking the Hometown
The party calculated how long it’d take for them to journey to the Peco Peco’s homeland and decided to head back to the city first. Their destination was much closer to Kemet than where they were at the moment. While Teleport would be locked during a special quest, the game didn’t stop players from using Return Scrolls.
There’s an old saying. Enemies always meet. Logically speaking, since the Wolf Clan ruled the Pyramids, it was normal if they met a few of Wolf Clan members. However, for them to encounter Wings members twice in a row? That’s strange.
But GloryOfTheWorld wasn’t around for their second encounter. Just LittleZhuGe and three players, probably Wings guild members, chatting near the portal. When LittleZhuGe saw the eight players who appeared out of nowhere, he merely paused for a brief moment in shock before nodding at HereticKing in greeting. Then, he went back to his conversation with the other three guild members.
As for the members of Heretic Demons, they didn’t make any big response either. Their mission now was to find the Scorpion King before the afternoon hurricanes start and kill it.
Just as the party left LittleZhuGe’s sights, a bright glow descended upon the portal once more. It was the missing GloryOfTheWorld. ZhuGe immediately whispered to him what happened. GloryOfTheWorld replied with a wave and ZhuGe, an assassin, vanished into stealth mode.
This time, XiaoYu had a mount. So, it only took them about an hour to arrive at the Peco Peco region. It had only been a day since he was last here, but the area has utterly transformed into something different. The sands were covered in scorpions, big and small.
“Seems like this is what’s truly happening in the Peco Peco region.” No one knew if there were any scorpions hiding underneath the sands once more. Thus, the party got off their mounts and readied themselves for a bloodbath.
“It probably only changed because we accepted that quest. If we fail, we’d have committed a grave sin. No newbies will be able to capture a Peco Peco as their mount in the future,” Below_The_Moon let out a whistle as he summoned his hawk to assist him in spotting enemies and attacking. Because they were stuck in a cave during the battle with the Queen, he couldn’t summon his hawk. Hence, he’d never bothered to summon it until now.
To the party whose levels average around 95, except for XiaoYu, these Level 60 to 70-plus scorpions were feeble. Plain and easy tiny bits of experience. And they really only give a tiny bit of experience. When a player was over 10 levels above the mob, the original amount of experience gained from killing it would be drastically reduced. When the level difference reaches above 20, the game would force the amount received to 1. Thus, it was always for the best that a player fought with monsters around the same level as they were.
XiaoYu was so well-protected right in the middle of the group that not even a fly could reach him. However, because the level gap between him and the rest of the party was way too high, none of his spells could be used to help clear out the scorpions. So, he couldn’t even receive that one measly experience point. Fortunately, they had completed two side quests beforehand. He was Level 39 now. Once this chain of quests was over, he would be Level 40 and be able to start a Profession.
As the group walked on, they met fewer and fewer scorpions. This meant they were getting closer to the boss. Suddenly, the earth rumbled and shook in a serious of violent tremors. An injury notification ranging from -30 to -150 popped up above everyone’s heads, except for XiaoYu who suffered no injuries due to having been kept under protection buffs constantly by the other two healers.
While XiaoYu wasn’t hurt, the trembling earth still made him loose his footing as he had low stats. XiaoYu wobbled and collapsed backwards. As expected, what welcomed XiaoYu was a familiar and warm embrace.
‘Aaah! They’re hugging again! Take a screenshot! Camera!’ Chrysanthemum’s fujoshi soul was ignited once more. As her heart raced in excitement, her face was as calm as usual. Her hands and staff steadily waved and refreshed the buffs on the party.
As the sands shivered and rumbled, the Scorpion King’s gigantic body slowly began to appear from beneath the sands. The entire process reminded everyone of a certain classic scene from a hundred-years-old show Ultraman where the monster would first appear on screen.
However, these players weren’t the foolish Ultraman. They didn’t wait for the monster to get ready to attack before acting. During the few short seconds the Scorpion King made his appearance, the group of experienced boss fighters swiftly got into formation. Those who were meant to stay back, stayed back. Those who were meant to attract the minions away, attracted the minions away. Those who should tank the boss, tanked it. By the time the Scorpion King and its tiny scorpions made their first retaliation, they were already suffering from numerous wounds.
As the scorpions were venomous, HereticKing’s special poison wasn’t that useful. The sounds of the -1 poison damage sounded more like a light scratch separated from skin via thick leather coverings. On the contrary, to the non-assassin players, the Scorpion King’s venom was an extra source of damage which could not be ignored at all.
Even though high-level poisons had a pitifully low chance of success, the two healers still threw out cures the moment someone was poisoned. Even if it had a miniscule chance of succeeding, there was still a chance. The earlier someone could be free from this pain, the better. Luckily, Below_The_Moon’s Profession was Apothecary. There was no lack of the average pill for poison relief. Thus, the poison damage beeps coming from the three close-quarters combat specialists near the Scorpion King would be under control within ten seconds and each second only brought under 300 damage.
Ah…XiaoYu sighed as he watched the busy bustling group from his spot far away. One. Two. Three…this was the fourth time he’d witnessed a boss killing. During the first encounter, he could be of some minor use. He helped in poison relief. For the other three times, he’d just been a carefree bystander.
“Meow~Mrrow~” The tiny cat had leapt straight up onto XiaoYu’s head in its excitement. It called its encouragements to the party. In its eyes, this huge yellow scorpion was more like a gleaming mountain of gold.
“Raaargh!” The Scorpion King flailed its two large pincers and a miniature sand hurricane started up around it. This was its AoE skill – Hurricane Attack. It wasn’t strong, but the sand flying everywhere could make a player lose their sense of sight for a short while. It would dramatically reduce critical rate.
XiaoYu just so happened to be standing outside the skill’s range, but he had no time to admire I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s accurate information on the boss. At that moment, he was clenching tight to the staff in his hands and doing his best to keep his eyes wide open. Just how were his friends doing? Unfortunately, the flying sands meant everyone appeared and vanished from his view within seconds. Was that real? Was that fake? It made XiaoYu feel so very worried, frustrated and helpless.
Contrary to how XiaoYu was feeling, after the brief blind experience, the party started to hit harder and faster because they knew that the use of this skill meant its health was below 50%. Harder. Faster. More. The reward was right in front of them.
“Boom–” The Scorpion King was still no match for this stampede of high-level players. Finally, it was chopped in half by HereticKing’s critical hit and fell to the ground. Dead, it transformed into a sprawling pile of loot.
The party put their weapons away. The tanks put away their shields. None of them even thought about picking up the loot on the ground. They knew that within five seconds, everything would be cleaned up by a certain professional sweeper cat.
“Hah. The tiny cat is way too fast. At least let me see everything that scorpion dropped,” CopperPlateKing said as he wiped his spear down and returned the Alloy Shield back to HereticKing.
“Meow~” With a few leaps, the tiny cat ran back to XiaoYu who had just ran over. It rubbed itself against XiaoYu’s boots. It levelled up again. So happy.
“Chief, anything good?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man was standing further away from the boss. Once the dust settled, nothing could be seen on the floor.
“There was a necklace.” HereticKing actually didn’t see everything either. But in his brief scan, there was a necklace that he might have seen that looked quite nice.
“It dropped an accessory? Lucky!”
The drop rate of accessories was so much lower than the average drop rate of equipment. Bosses usually don’t ever spit one out, let alone a normal monster. So head accessories, necklaces, rings etc. would fetch a high price as long as they look nice. If it had a great stat as well, the price would go rocket straight through the sky. The most important reason for it all was still accessories generally don’t have class or level limits. Everyone and anyone can equip them.
“Let’s look at its stats.”
XiaoYu hurriedly pulled up the description of the necklace and shared it with the party.
Necklace of the Scorpion King: Defence +20. Vitality +15. Poison Resistance +30. 1% chance of poisoning the opponent with scorpion venom when attacking.
I-It’s amazing. The base additional defence from accessories were not high to begin with. These 20 points were quite good. And with just the additional poison resistance, the user could resist nearly all of the high-tier poisons from the Assassin class. Not only that, there was a small chance of poisoning the opponent. The crowd’s minds were already flipping fast through the accessories they’ve seen before and compared their stats to this necklace’s in an attempt to gauge how much it’d sell for.
“Xiao-Yu, take the necklace out,” HereticKing abruptly said.
Everyone was confused. Weren’t they splitting the loot after everything?
XiaoYu was stunned too. But he quickly reacted. He pulled out the necklace from the small cat’s inventory and handed it over to HereticKing. He didn’t even use the Exchange tab. (Directly handing another player an item would count as a gift. A successful transaction.)
But when the necklace reached HereticKing’s hands, he didn’t put it in his inventory, nor did he equip it himself. Instead, he put it on XiaoYu’s neck.
“It’s got good stats and it increases Vitality. It’s just right for you,” HereticKing gently explained when he saw XiaoYu’s shock at his actions. He remembered XiaoYu mentioning he was aiming for a tanky healer before.
“But…” But it’s so very expensive. XiaoYu sort of knew the prices around Asgard Online. This necklace was clearly so much more precious compared to the other items in the tiny cat’s inventory.
“We finally dropped an equipment you can use. Good boy.” HereticKing’s bossy personality was exposed once more. The kid-coaxing tone he used had an air which said refused all refusals.
“Yes. Lucky, you have it. The other equipment have class and level limits. You can’t use any of them now.” The levels of the monsters they’d been fighting over the past two days were far higher than XiaoYu’s. Even if they found the rare equipment suited for healer classes, XiaoYu couldn’t use them for a while anyway.
“T-Thank you.” XiaoYu didn’t help at all, yet everyone was always concerned about me. It felt nice having friends.
“No need to be so polite. Look at my Wolf Teeth Necklace. It’s nice, right? So cool.” CopperPlate dug out his necklace and showed it to XiaoYu. “Right. Don’t forget to hide your necklace under your clothes. If a bad guy sees that, they might kill you for it.” As CopperPlate said so, he mimed a throat-slashing. With his exaggerated expressions, the party cheered up once more.
Plap, plap, plap, plap, plap…Steady marching sounding out from far away attracted the party’s attention. Weapons were taken out once more.
Once they saw who the newcomers really were, everyone let out a silent sigh of relief. It was a huge flock of Peco Pecos. The party had their approval. Peco Pecos were of no threat to them.
The Peco Pecos stopped before the party of players. They then opened up a path and allowed two Peco Pecos to walk through.
“Ark. Arrk. Waark…”
[Peco Peco Elder: A-Amazing. You are the heroes of the Peco Peco tribe!]
As it said so, the Peco Pecos all raised their right wings and saluted the players.
Pffft. So funny.
“Ding. Party Pilgrimage West has completed the mission: ’Retaking the Hometown’ of the quest Escort the brave Peco Peco egg back to its village. EXP +100,000. Crystal Coins +50.”
[Peco Peco Elder: Now, once our king appears, the Peco Peco tribe would be restored. The scent of our king seems to be coming from you…]
The Peco Peco Elder looked at XiaoYu. It wanted to walk right up to this human, but there were guards as thick as copper walls before him. It can’t clash with these heroes.
XiaoYu squeezed past the crowd. The party was too good at protecting him. He took out the egg from his bag and handed it to the Elder. “This is your king,” he said.
The Elder carefully held the egg up with its wings. Emotional tears flowed out from its tiny eyes.
“Ding. Party Pilgrimage West has completed the hidden S-rank quest: Escort the brave Peco Peco egg back to its village. EXP +300,000. Crystal Coins +100.”
With the game notification sound, this escort mission had finally come to an end.
“System Notice: Congratulations, Party Pilgrimage West, has completed a secret quest and opened the gates to a secret Boss. A 2-hour maintenance will commence at 12:00 tonight. Players do not need to log off, but please stay within city boundaries to prevent corrupted data. Asgard Online thanks all players for their cooperation.”
“System Notice: After this patch, new region bosses will appear. March on and challenge them all. There are still more secret quests in Asgard Online awaiting you. Take your weapons and charge! Become the heroes of Asgard Online!”
“Gods, it’s talking about us!” CopperPlate stared up at the sky with his head in hands and an awestruck face.
“Party names don’t have duplicates. That is us,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man said as he patted CopperPlate on the shoulder. The party name he inputted on a whim was announced to everyone in the server. Oh, yes!
“Let’s head back to the city. Meet up in the President’s Suite of Prole’s Hotel Steir,” HereticKing ordered. Since the quest was done, there was no need to dawdle in this desert. He usually didn’t care if other players realised they were the party the game just talked about, but he didn’t want XiaoYu to get dragged into everything. The complex human intentions would bring untold harm to XiaoYu.
The white lights signalling a Return Scroll’s use flash by and the herd of Peco Peco slowly dispersed, along with the Elder. Once the game’s refresh wipes away the footprints, it would appear as if no one was ever here.
The air nearby twisted and turned, and an assassin slowly appeared out of thin air. LittleZhuGe glanced at where the party was before they disappeared, then he glanced at the public announcement hanging up in the air. He let out a smile.