The 100th Regression of the Max-Level Player - RMLP Chapter 63: Vigilance (Part 1)
The stakes were high in this round for the sub-quest. Only one player could receive the reward per zone, a challenging rule that added an edge to the competition.
“Because the Balance Stones, the crucial materials that needed to be gathered for this sub-quest, have a fixed number.”
Although every zone had a shot, securing a Balance Rune wouldn’t be a cakewalk.
“It’s definitely going to be tough, no doubt about it.”
Sub-quests often carried an air of simplicity, but this instance was an exception.
“They might be called sub-quests, but they’re tougher and come with greater rewards than main quests.”
Bagging 300 orcs, no doubt, was simpler than amassing four Balance Stones.
Getting your hands on those Balance Stones was no walk in the park.
“That’s why I can relax a bit. It’s unlikely that many will achieve sub-quests in other zones.”
But even if they cleared the sub-quest, how many could meet the Balance Rune’s conditions?
Probably only Ryu Min, who prepared beforehand and adjusted his stats, could truly gain benefits from the Rune of Balance.
“I need to claim the reward for this round’s sub-quest.”
In the midst of strategizing, Priscilla resumed her explanation.
[This round’s sub-quest revolves around collecting Balance Stones. You snatch up four, and you will instantly get a reward marked with a question mark. However, only one lucky human gets to bask in the glory.]
“Yep, because there are only four Balance Stones within the zone.”
“But what if the four stones were gathered by different players?”
“Won’t the sub-quests just fail?”
[Sure, but don’t sweat it. If you take down other players, you can swipe their Balance Stones.]
“Kill to snatch?”
“Similar to competing for the zone representative seat?”
[Yes. And unlike the previous round, death doesn’t lead to a do-over. Once you’re out, you’re out.]
The finality of death… It was expected, yet the gravity of those words sent shivers down spines.
Taking lives for the sake of a sub-quest… The risks loomed large.
‘But if I don’t view it as a risk, then it’s not, right?’
Risk was merely a burden borne by the mind.
Toss aside conscience and morality, and taking out fellow players wasn’t a Herculean task.
Hadn’t we practiced this repeatedly during the fourth round?
Certain players’ eyes sparkled with resolve.
The look that said they’d eliminate others without a second thought, all for the sake of the sub-quest.
[Of course, sub-quests had their appeal, but they can’t quite steal the spotlight from main quests, right? If you failed to take down 300 orcs within a 10-hour timeframe, there was no escape – you’d be out, no exceptions. And if you missed the leaderboard due to the timing, the consequence remained the same.]
Players nodded in agreement. Bagging 300 orcs wasn’t an insurmountable challenge. They had a generous 10-hour window, after all.
[Alright, I’ve given you all the intel you need. Now, struggle hard.]
With an unsettling remark left behind, Priscilla and the remaining angels vanished from sight.
The serene ambiance of the prairie was mirrored by the crystal-clear sky above.
[Time Remaining Until Round Ends: 09:59:59]
As the progress window displayed the ticking seconds, Ryu Min sprang into action.
“Just as the angel said. Sub-quests have their charm, but main quests take precedence.”
Swiftly dispatching 300 orcs was vital for safety. The sub-quests could wait until later, along with assisting Min Juri.
“The key here is speed – the quicker I achieve this, the better the rewards. Min Juri’s assistance can come after.”
When it came to setting records, flying solo was quicker than sticking together. Even without buffs, eliminating about 300 orcs was a walk in the park.
“I’ve already cautioned Min Juri about the orcs, so there’s no need for unnecessary worries.”
Having given Min Juri a heads-up, she wouldn’t rashly attack an orc nest.
“Let’s bust through the main quest ASAP so I can aid Minjuri.”
With determined steps, Ryu Min quickened his pace. Time was of the essence in establishing a record.
* * *
As Black Scythe drew near, players flinched and sidestepped, as if the path before them had parted like the Red Sea.
With Black Scythe sailing by innocuously, players collectively released held breaths.
“Phew, he was just passing by.”
“Caught me off guard with that sudden approach.”
“My heart skipped a beat.”
“But where’s he heading so purposefully?”
“Yeah, what’s the deal?”
“Should we tag along?”
At the daring suggestion of a fearless youngster, listeners leaped to their feet.
“Are you crazy!? Chasing after Black Scythe?”
“Want to be under his dominion?”
“He would probably enslave you for life!”
Not an entirely unreasonable assumption.
Given Black Scythe’s swift and ruthless beheadings, caution seemed appropriate.
“But is it better to just stay idle like this? Anything Black Scythe chases after is very important, he always knows what to do. That’s why he consistently secures the first place.”
The young individual’s reasoning wasn’t far off.
There was some logic in it.
The inability of people to come up with counterarguments served as evidence.
“But what if we get caught following him?”
“Then we track him from a safe distance.”
“If you’re not up for it, maybe you all should stay here. I’m going even if I’m alone.”
With determination, the young person dashed toward the direction Black Scythe had taken off to.
After a moment of contemplation, other players eventually followed suit.
After all, remaining in place would lead to annihilation.
Since the quest had already commenced, finding and eliminating orcs swiftly was imperative.
The Black Scythe likely knew the path.
“Hey, look there.”
“What kind of village is that?”
It was a small village with haphazardly placed wooden stakes.
Players had an innate understanding.
That was the orc stronghold.
At the village entrance stood an orc, almost like a patrol.
A breeze carried the sound as the orc who made a whistling noise noticed Black Scythe and swung his axe.
Or rather, attempted to swing.
The orc’s neck was cleanly cut.
A rustling sound.
After easily killing one orc, Black Scythe entered the stronghold.
As the orcs, who had been roaming the village, caught sight of the intruder, they grabbed the axes hanging from their waists.
With a determined spirit, three orcs charged at Black Scythe.
However, death befell the orcs.
Without exception, headless bodies fell to the ground.
Rustle-rustle- rustle-rustle- rustle-rustle!
With momentum, Black Scythe entered a rudimentary hut.
Slice- swish- slice-!
Eerie sounds resonated, and Black Scythe emerged.
The blade of his scythe was tainted with green-hued blood.
Seeing Black Scythe returning to the village for more, players felt reassured.
As anticipated, the orcs seemed weak.
“See not a big deal. They’re just orcs.”
“Seems about as harmless as the goblins we fought before.”
“Maybe Black Scythe makes it look easier than it is?”
“But he’s slicing through them way too easily.”
“Indeed. The Black Scythe is strong, but not that kind of strong, we can handle it as well, right?”
In games, orcs often occurred as cannon fodder, easy to defeat. The same expectation lingered in reality, yet underestimating them was a mistake they couldn’t afford.
“The sheer might of Black Scythe might be the reason they look easy to kill. Don’t dismiss vigilance.”
“Right, no harm in being cautious.”
“Well, we won’t know their true strength until we face them.”
“Then instead of watching, let’s take on a village just like the Black Scythe did.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Around twenty players set out in search of different strongholds. Even though this quest didn’t inherently require teamwork, there was another motivation driving their unity.
‘I should cooperate with these newcomers for now.’
‘We’re still unsure of the orc’s true power.’
‘If I find it doable to handle them solo after observing from the shadows, then I will act separately.’
The obscurity of the orcs’ capabilities still loomed large, making teamwork a strategic choice for now. Plus, banding together would provide a cushion for safety.
“Hey? Look, there’s a village!”
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