Author’s note: So, I got the idea for the prologue and even for a new story (that might see the light of day someday…) but I still need to write the prologue out. Hopefully, it will be done by the end of next week. Since I’ll be focusing on that I won’t promise more than two chapters next week.
Thanks to all of the people who signed up to help me up the release speed, you’re kicking my butt, but I’m grateful. The quality has gone up by a large percentage. Enjoy the read.
The players who had finally finished their intensive battle with the boar sat down to rest. They chatted amongst themselves, eating and drinking, while some engaged in item trading transactions. However, there were two in the group that sat quite far from the rest, whispering.
“Tch, if that boar hit him we could have stolen the kill for that rhino.” Toar grumbled.
“Our calculations were correct. It’s this Icicle guy who has surprised us. He actually diverted an enraged charging boar, just like that…” Jihun sighed.
“If it weren’t for that bunch of randoms we partied with, it wouldn’t end like this.” Toar snorted. “So, what do we do now?”
“Leader said to scout powerful players in the region for future reference. Our scouting ranking is based on the skill of players in the last game we played – Eurasia. Who knows how many of the players in our region even got the VR device. Assuming that all of them did, we can’t exclude the possibility they’re just good with mouse and keyboard either. Loiterous is completely different than playing on the PC.” Jihun said, smiling helplessly.
“That’s true. What about that Icicle guy then? Does he ring a bell?” Toar asked.
“No, his nickname is completely alien to me. However, there’s one guy we should be looking for – the Scavenger! The one and only player who could ruin our guild’s plans just by obtaining the most powerful pet in the server…” Jihun sighed. “His skill wasn’t even that great, but the sheer amount of schemes he pulled others into was terrifying. We need a strategist like that.” Jihun spoke firmly.
“You’re saying that Icicle can be that Scavenger?” Toar asked incredulously. Although the players in other regions merely heard of the legendary Scavenger, these two were very clear on his achievements. If not for the Scavenger their guild would be the best one on the server!
“That’s just an off-chance. Players who didn’t get their devices yet said he wasn’t online in the last two days.” Jihun said. “Whether he is the Scavenger or not, we should ditch those noobs and get going. There are a lot of powerful players up ahead that we should reel in.” Jihun proposed.
“Alright.” Toar agreed, standing up.
Icicle reorganized his inventory. He was about to depart when a group of players came running down the hill, looking around and screaming.
“Has anyone seen a big ass white rhino?!” two Warriors in the front yelled.
Icicle looked at them with pity. “Those guys were so slow I could have killed that rhino twice…” he thought, passing them.
The group of seven people went down, asking the resting players if they have seen the rampant white beast.
“You’ve seen it?” A lean boy with brown hair placed his hand on the resting player’s shoulder, asking excitedly. “Where is it?”
The player shook his head. “It’s already dead man. You see that guy in the leather set going up the hill? He soloed that white rhino.” the player said with excitement.
The brown-haired youth quickly relayed the message to his teammates. They all nodded in agreement since the information they gathered was exactly the same. “Let’s follow him!” they said in unison.
Toar and Jihun looked at each other, smirking. “Who knows, maybe they’re worth recruiting.” Jihun shrugged, a mischievous smile on his tanned face.
Toar guffawed. Those players weren’t much. It was clear to Toar that Jihun only followed them for the entertainment. Which good player would let his prey run? Especially when he was amongst 6 other people. “Alright, let’s take a look.” Toar nodded, smirking.
Icicle climbed on top of the hill, looking at the winding road to the west where the enormous mountain range towered over the land. He started planning his route around the wild boars, grizzlies and [Diamondback Rattlesnakes].
“Hey man, we heard you killed the rhino.” a brown-haired youth called out from down below. Icicle turned around and saw that the 7 man party from before went after him.
“I did.” Icicle said curtly, walking down the hill.
“Wait up.” a Warrior called Nuho called out. His brown hair swayed in the wind. “Did it drop a horn?” he asked, placing his palm on Icicle’s shoulder.
Icicle turned, his brows furrowed. “Do we know each other?” he asked.
“No.” Nuho shook his head. “Listen-”
“Are you asking me on a date then?” Icicle continued.
Nuho stared dumbfounded. He turned around to see his friends roaring with laughter, clutching their stomachs. “Way to go bro!” they gave him a thumbs up.
“Hell no!” Nuho screamed, his cheeks reddening.
“Then take your hand off my shoulder. I’m not your butt buddy.” Icicle swatted the hand away.
Nuho hid his stinging arm behind his back. He looked like a manservant ready to welcome the guests. His friends behind him laughed so hard they almost fell down the hill.
“There’s no harm in being gay, just control yourself.” Icicle shook his head.
Nuho hung his head low, staring at the ground. He was too embarrassed to even speak.
“So, what do you want?” Icicle said, somewhat appalled. His face resembled that of a rape victim.
“The rhino horn, did you get it?” one of Nuho’s party members asked, smothering his laughter.
“I did, why?” Icicle glanced at the whole party and immediately identified the leader named Maun. Maun was a tall man with teal colored hair. His eyes were likewise teal. He stood behind his whole party, acting unconcerned. What’s surprising, he played the healer. His class displayed [Priest].
Aside from him, there were three mages, one fire, one lightning and one of earth element. They stood next to an Archer. In the front were two Warriors, one of them was Nuho. The entire party appeared to consist of only 7 men, but Icicle felt a Rogue in stealth sneaking in behind him.
“Bunch of idiots, they think I don’t know what they’re planning.” Icicle mused, laughing inwardly. “Blackie, sneak behind the Archer, we’re most likely going to have some fun.” Icicle commanded.
“Yes Master!” Blackie replied, scuttering.
“We need it for the quest, man. Since you hunted our monster, at least give us the item.” Nuho stated.
“Oh, I see. So it was yours?” Icicle asked with a raised brow.
“Yes!” Nuho nodded.
“Did it have your mark on it?” Icicle continued.
“No, but-” Nuno tried to argue.
“Did you inseminate it then?” Icicle interrupted.
“…” Nuho gaped, not knowing what to say.
“Since it didn’t have your mark, nor your child in its belly, how the hell was I supposed to know?” Icicle shook his head.
Nuho’s party stopped laughing, their expressions turned serious.
“Is the air I breathe yours too? A bunch of entitled bitches. If you want freebies go beg around the Church in Vilen Town. I’m sure some kind soul will spare you a few copper coins.” Icicle snorted, turning to leave.
Icicle felt stinging pain spreading in his left shoulder area. He turned his head and saw an arrow lodged there. “Finally.” he thought, taking the arrow out as his devilish grin surfaced.
On top of the hill Maun gave his party a nod, signaling his friends to kill Icicle.
The Rogue, who was sneaking behind Icicle for a good while, flashed a devious grin. “You guys have kept me waiting!” he said to his party, ready to strike.
Nuho and his Warrior friend unsheathed their swords, charging at Icicle. Three mages and an Archer on top of the hill prepared their skills.
Icicle’s right hand jerked backwards. His sword seemed to enter something soft.
“ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” came the scream from behind Icicle. It was the Rogue who just tried to backstab him.
Icicle saw the Rogue staggering. clutching his bleeding eye socket.
“What did you do to me, man?!” he screamed, looking at the message displayed before his foggy eyes.
Taking damage brought the Rogue out of stealth. His right eyeball was punctured, blood spewing out red liquid like a fountain. Through his blurry vision, the Rogue saw Icicle’s devious grin as he turned and struck with his sword. A horizontal bloody slit appeared on the Rogue’s throat, making him bleed even more profusely.
“Die!” Nuho and the other Warrior screamed, approaching Icicle. Their swords cut from two directions, making an X mark.
Icicle’s right hand jerked again. It carried the bleeding Rogue within its grasp, using him as a meatshield.
“Arghhh!” rang out another desolate scream. When the second sword strike hit the Rogue’s back, he disintegrated into colorful particles.
Icicle sensed a few projectiles heading his way and nimbly dodged to the side.
[Lightning bolt] and [Lesser Fireball] exploded upon hitting the dirt road, sending gravel flying in all directions. Woken up by the rumbling, the players resting beneath the hill quickly climbed up to see what’s going on. They were hoping for some kind of local event.
“Huh, what’s this?” one of them said, seeing the group fighting Icicle.
“That’s player killing! Look at those two, their names are slightly red!” one of the players commented.
Nuho and the other Warrior turned into Player Killers for killing their own Rogue. Icicle stood to the side, smirking.
“I’ll kill you!” Nuho screamed, charging forward.
Icicle smiled smugly, deflecting the overhead swing. He sent a stab of his own.
“Arghh!” Nuho cried out. “Heal me!” he screamed, seeing his hp bar rapidly shrinking.
Maun who started channeling the healing spell suddenly got interrupted.
“What the hell is this?!” he and the two mages screamed, encased in a water bubble. Their mouths quickly filled with water, making them choke. Only the Earth Mage and the Archer on the opposite sides were free.
The sound of rocks clashing against each other reverberated as the Earth Mage cast [Clay armor] on both Warriors, boosting their physical resistance.
“Now Blackie!” Icicle ordered, dodging an arrow.
Blackie pounced onto the vulnerable Archer from the shadows, his teeth sinking into the Archer’s throat.
“Arghgghghgh.” came out the gurgles from the Archer. He tried to push Blackie away, but the tricky black dog constantly jumped around, ripping his neck to bloody shreds.
The Earth Mage was alarmed at the sudden turn of events. He started casting the only offensive spell he had, [Rock fist]. It had a slight knockback effect.
The desolate howl interrupted the Earth Mage, making him tense up. As he was unable to move, his eyes wandered to Icicle’s direction.
“I hope you won’t drop the soap too often.” Icicle’s impish grin only widened as he saw Nuho spurting blood all around from a deep cut on his chest. The blood splashed on Icicle’s face, making him look demonic. “You only lasted about 5 hacks, I’m disappointed.” Icicle shook his head helplessly, looking at the disintegrating Nuho. “Have fun in jail.” he said, waving goodbye.
Icicle then turned to the other Warrior who was now free of [Soundless Fear]. “Well then, you’re next!” Icicle said, licking his lips.
The Warrior’s expression hardened. Their party engaged a goddamn lunatic!
The Earth Mage in the back was no longer restrained by the [Soundless Fear]. Its effect was considerably reduced the farther the target was from the epicenter. The mage cast [Rock fist] again, trying to save his dying friend, but the black hound in front of it simply dodged to the side.
The life in the Archer’s eyes continued to slip away. He desperately tried to get rid of the black nightmare, but wasn’t able to. A warm feeling enveloped him as Maun cast a healing spell. However, this only made him look more miserable. The pain he felt made him want to pass out, to be done with the nightmare. His expression said “Just let me die already!”
Blackie bit for the last time before dispatching the Archer and entering stealth.
“Kill him and the familiar won’t be a problem!” the leader ordered, his teal-colored eyes blazing with rage. Next to him appeared a brown bear, standing guard.
The last Warrior wasn’t healed and quickly died under Icicle’s attacks. His mage party members couldn’t do anything as he was blocking their spell trajectory.
“Block his path and then assault him with spells!” Maun commanded. The Earth Mage immediately created a [Compact Earth Wall], blocking most of the way up the hill.
Icicle collected the dropped loot from the Warriors and the Rogue, unsatisfied. “What a bunch of junk they were wearing. Hmph.” he snorted. “Wasting my time with just this much…”
Icicle picked up his speed. The soles of his feet glistened with blue glow as he jumped up high, landing on the other side of the earth wall.
“What!” the three mages gaped. They were ready to assault both sides of the wall but Icicle pulled one on them, jumping straight over the wall!
“It doesn’t matter, attack!” Maun said firmly, still vigilant against the stealthed familiar.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!
[Rock fist], [Lightning bolt] and [Lesser fireball] made their way through the air, approaching Icicle in breathtaking speed. As they were about to hit, a translucent blue barrier appeared around Icicle.
The spells collided with the membrane, making the barrier shudder. However, there was no explosion. It seemed as if the barrier swallowed the other spells, then burped contentedly, disappearing.
“It’s still a little weak.” Icicle frowned, closing in on the hilltop.
The guarding bear rushed down the hill, opening its bloody maw. The bear was only 1.5m long, but it emitted fierceness.
Icicle brandished his sword straight at the bear’s snout, following with a cross cut. The bear disappeared immediately, barely hindering his movement.
Icicle continued his death march, jumping on top of the hill. He rushed in the direction of the Earth Mage.
The Earth Mage raised his wooden staff, ready to block any incoming blow. Icicle smirked as he changed his trajectory, making a diagonal jump towards the Lightning Mage!
“Arghhh!” Lightning Mage screamed as a bloody gash appeared on his chest. He quickly utilized [Lightning rush] to gain distance.
“Get him!” Icicle ordered.
A streak of black light appeared behind the Lightning Mage, its jaws sinking into his neck.
Icicle continued his slaughter. He was about to hack the Earth Mage for the last time when he saw a bright light enveloping the mage, restoring his life. Icicle turned and saw the Fire Mage standing next to him casting a point blank [Lesser fireball].
“Goddamn idiots. You think suicide is enough to kill me?” Icicle smirked, imbuing his sword with mana. He slashed straight at the fireball.
Icicle was sent flying, landing unsteadily 3m away. As for the Mage who cast the fireball, he was in an even worse shape, dropping down the hill.
Icicle closed the distance and finished off the Earth Mage. He cast [Liquid membrane] on Blackie, allowing him to kill the Fire Mage afterwards. As soon as he was done, he turned to the leader and smiled gently. “So, do you want to trade now?”
“H-Huh?” the Priest struggled to speak.
“I can trade you the horn for some jewelry. Do you have any?” Icicle asked, swinging his sword down to dispose of the blood.
A trade window opened before Icicle and he saw a small marble-like ring.
As Icicle was examining the ring, the surrounding players started discussing what had happened.
“Did he just slaughter the entire party by himself? What a monster!”
“I saw him defeating that rhino, but this is completely different.”
“Look at his class, he’s a Water Mage! Those guys probably didn’t even know his skillset, no wonder they were beaten to the ground.”
Toar and Jihun watched quietly on the side. “Do you think he’s the Scavenger?” Toar asked. He seemed somewhat unconvinced.
“We’ll have to wait and see.” Jihun said knowingly. He knew of one trait of the Scavenger that would let him recognize him.
“This is no good.” Icicle shook his head, refusing Maun’s proposal. “Do you have anything else?”
Maun looked at Icicle, his expression stern. He shook his head.
“Well then, I’ll just sell this horn on the Auction House. I hope your elite grade quest is successful.” Icicle nodded, collecting the dropped items of the players he just got rid of. He was preparing to leave.
Maun’s brows furrowed, as if he was struggling with something. He wagered the pros and cons and finally gave in. “W-Wait!” he stammered, calling out to Icicle.
“Did you change your mind?” Icicle asked as he saw the trade window open.
“Now we’re talking.” Icicle nodded earnestly. “Do you have any mana potions?” he asked.
“J-Just 10.” Maun weakly muttered.
“Add them in and we’ll have a deal!” Icicle said magnanimously.
Maun’s expression stiffened. He knew it was a crucial point but it pained him nonetheless.
“Alright, don’t make such a scowl. Here, this is your friends’ dropped junk.” Icicle stuffed the inventory with dropped loot.
Maun nodded gratefully and pressed the accept button. Icicle saw his new ring and smiled. “This is a great ring!” he thought.
Icicle checked the allocated “self-defense” timer. He was allocated 2 minutes for each player in a party that attacked him, a total of 16 minutes to get rid of them. There was still a lot of time left. He looked at Maun with some compassion, as he sneaked behind him.
“What are you doing?” Maun asked, somewhat terrified.
“I can’t just let someone who dared to attack me walk away, right? Besides, you’re heading to the town, right? Consider it a favor from me. I’ll help you get there faster.” Icicle smiled innocently.
Nearby players covered their ears as a desolate shriek escaped Maun’s lips. He quickly disintegrated into colorful particles, dropping a white clerical collar with a yellow cross.
Icicle collected it, checking its properties.
“I should give it to Enna.” Icicle thought. Getting 5 gold for the staff was a lot, so he might add that collar as a bonus.
Toar and Jihun continued watching what happened. Toar turned to Jihun, seeing him gape. “What is it?” he asked.
“Shit! He’s the Scavenger!” Jihun muttered, his expression turning pale.
“What? How do you know?” Toar was confused.
“There’s not much known about Scavenger, but he had one rule. Whenever someone attacked him, he left no one behind!” Jihun gulped. “I heard that when one small guild interrupted his herb gathering, attacking his side character; he razed their headquarters to the ground…”
“And you think it’s that Icicle? Come on man, it could be anyone.” Toar shook his head. Jihun was turning paranoid.
“I’m 90% sure it’s him!” Jihun said firmly.
As the two were chatting, Blackie ran back happily. He showed himself next to Icicle, nuzzling his leg. “God, god! I killed three of them!” he barked.
“This again? I told you to call me Master.” Icicle sighed, looking at Blackie’s black fur covered with streaks of red blood. “Stop nuzzling up against me, you’re making me look dirty.” Icicle scolded.
“Sorry God! I mean, Master!” Blackie corrected himself, still nuzzling against Icicle.
The surrounding players looked at the duo, bewildered. Both the dog and its owner were covered in blood, looking demonic.
Icicle felt the stares, turning to the players. “I’m sorry you had to see all this.” he scratched his head.
“N-No need, you just got rid of the player killers. We should have helped you.” some of the players nodded. They didn’t see what happened before. If they saw how Nuho and his friend became the PKs, their impression of Icicle would be completely different.
Under the command of Icicle, Blackie entered the shadows again, disappearing from view. Blackie received two slabs of bear meat, munching on them happily.
“Shit, he’s coming here!” Jihun whispered, his eyes widening. Toar stood next to him, completely unfazed.
Icicle continued walking until he stood in front of the two. He glanced them over.
“Do you need something?” Toar asked.
“Indeed.” Icicle nodded, suddenly sending out a kick!
“Ugh!” Toar felt his stomach deflating as he was sent flying. He landed on the side of the steep hill, rolling down like a boulder. A jagged rock protruded out of the hill. Toar fell right from it, gaining even more momentum as he constantly tumbled down. He only stopped when he reached the bottom of the grassland hill, smashing right into the giant grey rock players used to rest their backs on.
“Don’t fuck with me.” Icicle said out loud, turning to leave.
Jihun’s eyes turned completely round. He was about to apologize to the legendary Scavenger when something slammed into him, completely out of nowhere. He staggered, trying not to fall, but he failed miserably. Jihun rolled down the hill in a similar way to Toar. His whole body rattled as he fell. He felt like his bones were breaking.
Jihun smashed into the same rock his friend did.
“Ughhh!” Toar groaned as Jihun landed on top of him.
“How dare you endanger God?!” Blackie barked at the top of the hill, contented about his feat. All the surrounding players heard him barking angrily.
“What is Icicle doing? Wasn’t he supposed to be a good guy?” one of the players muttered, analyzing the situation. Icicle killed the Player Killers and now this happens? Something was wrong.
“Hey, isn’t that Toar guy the Lightning Mage who “accidentally” missed his [Lightning bolt], attacking us instead? He broke our encirclement and let the boar escape!” the other player said.
“Wait, you’re right! And that guy next to him, Jihun, was the one who entered stealth and stabbed the boar in the ass, making it run in that direction in the first place!” another player added.
The surrounding players quickly put two and two together. They walked down the hill, encircling the two battered players. Their gazes were full of suspicion.
Toar’s back hurt so much he wanted to kill himself. “What do you want, goddamn noobs?!” he screamed. His self-control was gone because of the excruciating pain.
“Hah, see that? Look at his attitude! A goddamn celestial king descending from his high throne to meet the mortals!” one of the players commented.
“They wanted to kill that Icicle guy, get the boar loot and the rhino loot at the same time! Fucking swindlers, why don’t we just kill them?” another player said angrily.
“Ha! You bunch of idiots! You think you can actually kill me?! Just you wait, I’ll PK you until all of you are level 1!” Toar yelled.
“Shut up!” Jihun screamed, his voice hoarse. Falling down the hill took its toll on him, he could barely move.
“See guys, as we thought, they were in cahoots!” a Warrior screamed.
“Wait guys, hold your horses. We can’t just kill them, we’ll turn into Player Killers ourselves.” one of the Fire Mages shook his head.
“What do we do then?” the Warrior asked. He was ready to kill those two for what they did.
“We can’t kill them, but… no one said anything about not roughing them up, right?” Fire Mage’s eyes lit up.
“Hahaha! That’s a great idea. Sadly, it won’t last long.” the Warrior replied with pity.
“Where are our healers?!” another Warrior screamed. Two of the Priests walked to the front.
“Heal those idiots while we beat them up!” the Warrior said, raising his foot.
“Arghh! I’ll kill all of you!” Toar screamed, as he was trampled by the raging players.
Jihun covered his head with his hands, enduring silently. He gritted his teeth and tried to persevere.
“Here, receive this noob’s wrath!” one of the players screamed, kicking both Toar and Jihun.
Some other players spat on the two. As more and more players gathered in the area, they came over to check what’s going on. They saw an enraged mob encircling and mercilessly beating up two other players.
Later that day, the recording of two players being beaten up made its way into the forums.