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36 A Stepping Stone of Who?

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Hum~♪ Houm~♪ Hom~♪ Hom~♪

Shin is humming a song as he walk out the Village Chief's house. Well, that was understandable. After all, he manage to raised his level at 'Level 52' when he submitted all the cleared quests that he have accepted earlier.

And because of it, he have gotten some 'Influence' inside the Village. Now he have the necessary requirements for the Village Chief position. All he have to do now is to find the special quest on becoming one. After all, he can't kill the current Chief just to take that position, or else all of his hard work will be gone to waste.

But that is not the real reason for Shin to become this happy. It is because of his equipments also undergo some qualitative changes. He swapped some of his {Dark Swamp Equipment Set} with his newly acquired {Ruler's Equipment Set}. Even though the 'Set Effect' of the later is still not yet available, the bonus stats and extra skills that those items provide were much better than the former.

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[ Serpent King Combat Boots ]

Item Type: Foot Armor (Light Armor)

Item Rank: Silver (Evolvable)

Level: 50~80

Durability: 500/500

Stats:

(Adjust depending on the user's Level)

Current Level: 52

Physical Defense: 400 - 430

Magic Resist: 340 - 350

+100 STR

+200 AGI

Additional Skill:

Swift Movements: + 200% Movement Speed

Paralysis Bite: Kick your enemy with a swift speed immobilizing them for 5 seconds.

Details: A specialized boots made from the scales of Dark Swamp Serpent King 'Rakkan'.

This is a part of {Ruler's Equipment Set}

Set Effect: ?/?

Can only be unlocked once the entire set were collected together.

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[ Crocodile King's Cover ]

Item Type: Upper Armor(Light Armor)

Item Rank: Silver

Durability: 1000/1000

Level: 50~80

Stats:(Adjust depending on the user's Level)

Current Level: 52

Physical Defense: 1 250 - 1 260

Magic Resist: 1 190 - 1 210

+10 000 HP

+140 VIT

+135 STR

Additional Skill:

1. Hard Skin: Increases Physical Defense by 40% and Magic Resist by 30%

2. Iron Scale: Form a protective barrier around you, absorbing a total of 25 000 damage (Physical Or Magical)

Details: An armor made from the remains of the Dark Swamp Crocodile King 'Crocky'. This armor provide great defense that can protect you during battle.

This is a part of {Ruler's Equipment Set}

Set Effect: ?/?

Can only be unlocked once the entire set were collected together.

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[ Wolf King's Shadow ]

Item Type: Lower Armor(Light Armor)

Item Rank: Silver

Durability: 1000/1000

Level: 50~80

Stats:(Adjust depending on the user's Level)

Current Level: 52

Physical Defense: 550 - 560

Magic Resist: 490 - 510

+ 5 000 HP

+ 125 VIT

+ 155 AGI

Additional Skill:

1. Alpha Wolf Speed and Senses: +100% movement speed and +60 Awareness

2. Wolf King's Hunt: Teleport at the back of your target 10-meters away from you.

Details: A lower armor came from the corpse of the Alpha Shadow Wolf 'Yugo'. It boasts the great speed and sharp senses of a wolf that can hunt its prey even from afar.

This is a part of {Ruler's Equipment Set}

Set Effect: ?/?

Can only be unlocked once the entire set were collected together.

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[ Boar King's Resolve ]

Item Type: Shoulder Guard (Leather Armor)

Item Rank: Silver

Durability: 500/500

Level: 50~80

Stats:(Adjust depending on the user's Level)

Current Level: 52

Physical Defense: 320 - 330

Magic Resist: 210 - 210

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+ 3 000 HP

+ 155 STR

+ 125 VIT

Additional Skill:

1. Hard Skin(Passive): Increase Physical Defense by 20% and Magic Resist by 10%.

2. Boar's Assault(Active): Summon the Boar King's Spirit to cover your body before charging forward, dealing 200% P.Damage on all the enemies you've pass through.

Details: A leather shoulder guards that made from the furs of the Shadow Golden Boar 'Pacco', and still have the fragment of its soul.

This is a part of {Ruler's Equipment Set}

Set Effect: ?/?

Can only be unlocked once the entire set were collected together.

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[ Bear King's Will ]

Item Type: Armor Belt (Leather Armor)

Item Rank: Silver

Durability: 400/400

Stats:(Adjust depending on the user's Level)

Current Level: 52

Physical Defense: 220 - 230

Magic Resist: 210 - 210

+2000 HP

+100 VIT

+130 STR

Skills:

1. Iron Will(Active): Remove all the negative de-buffs that were cast on you.

2. Mind Immune(Active): Become Immune on any Mental Attacks for 5 seconds.

Details: A leather armor belt made form the furs of the Black Iron Dusk Bear 'Volibear', where its powerful will were lingering.

This is a part of {Ruler's Equipment Set}

Set Effect: ?/?

Can only be unlocked once the entire set were collected together.

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Aside from that, Shin is still wearing the [Dark Swamp Combat Gloves] And [Dark Swamp Cloak], which is also still giving him +30% movement speed from its set effect. So he have a total of +330% bonus movement speed, which is can almost rival an 'Agility base Classes' of the same level like Twilights, Hunters, Thieves and Assassins.

And if he add the 'Max Stacks' bonus effect of 'Nephilim's Blade' of his weapon and also activated its 'Nephilim's Ascent' in the process, then it will be a total of '+580% bonus movement speed', which is almost the same speed of a regular Level 75+ 'Elite Player' with an AGI base Class. But what's even more terrifying in it, is that Shin just entered the ranks of a 'Veteran Player' which Level are only between Level 50 and Level 70.

"Now I can move my body a little more comfortably. And I guess I can do more things with all of these. Just a little bit more and my body here can catch up with my body in 'Real World'." muttered Shin as he feel the changes in his body. And while he is doing that a sudden call ring on his ears, which is came from Lawless.

"Eh!? What kind of bad news will I get from idi*t this time?" said Shin before accepting the call. And almost immediately, a virtual screen appeared in front of him, showing the Berserker TigerKin Lawless.

"Yo! Brother Sickarius! How are the things on your side? I've just saw that you manage to gain a lot of levels in a single day(In game Time). Have you discovered some sort of BUG? Will you mind sharing it with your brother here?" Lawless opened his mouth rapidly the moment the call connected.

'Look at this guy, saying all what he wanted. I guess 'Talker' is more appropriate name for you instead of Lawless.' thought Shin in his mind before replying. "Tsk, what BUG are you talking about? I've just finished a bunch of quest earlier, and it rewarded me some bonus levels. And I still have my 'x2 EXP Boost' active, so I've grinded a lot of extra EXP during the process."

"Is that so? Too bad, I really want to find some kind of EXP BUG inside this game, so that I can level up more faster and joined the ranks of the leading players." said Lawless disappointedly, but also having a determined tone.

*Sigh* Shin release a helpless sigh before asking. "OK, OK. Enough for that chitchat, just directly tell me the reason of this call, so that I can resume with my business immediately."

"Tsk, what a cold-hearted b*sr*rd. Are you not bored on that kind of life? I guess you also don't have a lot of friends in Real World." Lawless clicked his tounge disapprovingly before continuing. "Anyway, here is the thing....."

But before Lawless could state his real intention, Shin beat him on it. "Oi! If you are going to ask me to choose between a good news and a bad news, then just save it for yourself."

"Tsk, Boring~♪ Boring~♪, you are such a party pooper. Did you know that?" said Lawless with a displeased tone, while knitting his brows.

"Yah yah~♪, whatever♪.... So what's your business?" said Shin coolly while having a skeptical look on his face.

"Hsss... Alright alright, my reason on this call is just want to warn you about the people under the subordinate guilds of the HeadHunter Guild. From what I've heard on a friend of mine, those guilds are going to send a bunch of veteran teams to hunt you down. And I also heard that there are some 'Elite Players' in thier group." replied Lawless.

Then he pause for a moment before giving additional details on his warning. "One of my sources inside the 'HeadHunter Guild', even said that thier higher-ups are also going to dispatch their 'Potential Rankers' too. So if you are still farming inside the Dark Swamp, then start packing up your things and get out from there as soon as possible. That will be the first place that they are going to visit after all."

Shin knitted his brows before saying with a confused tone. "Potential Rankers?"

Lawless replied almost immediately. "Ah! You don't have any idea on who they are? Actually, those guys are just some sort of Rankers that came from the previous games and recently joined «Destiny's Fate». While some of them are very talented individuals that have high level of combat powers. Heh, You are quite famous right now after all, so it is better for them to use you and this event as a stepping stone for their future talents. Therefore, it is better also better for you to be careful this time."

"And~.... One more thing, you can also ask me and Faker for our assistance anytime. We are brothers after all, right? Just give me a call when you are cornered, and me and my friend here are going there for your rescue."

'Sigh~.... This guy is a real chatter box. He really like to talk a lot.' thought Shin in his mind before asking for a few more questions and finally ending the call.

Next he fall in a deep thought after that. Then he supported his chin with his right had as a form of habit. "Hmm... Looks like I need to show more prowess this time. Heh, who is afraid of who? Come at me if you can, and I will show you that you shouldn't mess with me. A stepping stone you said? Let's see who will be the stepping stone of who. But for now, I still need to clear my Main Quest first."

Shin is about to walk away and continue his travel towards the Seventh Outpost, when he saw a suspicious person in black cloak walked out from the Village and entered the forest not far from it.

Shin thought for a moment before deciding to trail behind that suspicious person. And from the looks of it, he can smell some sort of Special Quest this time.

*****

On the other side of the call, Lawless is leisurely sitting inside one of the bars of the Holy City, while also drinking some beer. From the looks of it, he is just relaxing there and not thinking on any kind of worries. But if Shin is here or a least looking carefully on his friend list, then he will discovered that this friend of his is already a Level 77 Elite Player and a full-fledged 'Tier 2 Berserker Class'.

And instead of a single Battle Axe, he have a pair of large War Axes hanging on his back. What's more is the equipments that he are wearing have a series of blue-green runes on its surface, and indicating that those items are Platinum Rank equipments. And from the similar looks of those items, you can tell that they are all parts of an Equipment Set.

Sitting across Lawless is a Tier 2 Twilight Dark Elf. This dark elf is wearing a sleeveless black long coat with a hood hanging on his head. And same with Lawless this guy also have a bunch of high rank equipments, some are even more better than the Berserker. What's more is his Level is also higher than Lawless by 10 Levels.

His legs are crossed on top of the table between him and Lawless, while he is alternately tossing a pair of throwing daggers with his right hand. The identity of this Twilight Dark Elf is 'Faker', Lawless closest friend.

Faker take a look at Lawless before saying. "You are really fond of that guy. Are you sure that you are going help that guy against the HeadHunter Guild."

Lawless laugh out loud when he heard that. The replied with a courageous manner. "Hahaha..... Of course I'm sure about that. And Brother Sickarius is a good person to be friend with. What's more is I also want get in some action. After all, I felt a little rusty right now. Since I've stop playing games 2 years ago. I also want to catch up with my old rivals, you know?"

When Faker heard the later part of what Lawless have said, his face become a little solemn as if he reminiscing some distant memory. "Two years ago."

For a moment, Lawless become a little affected with his friend's mood before laughing once again, but start giving some sort of sermon. "Hahaha... Let us forget all about the past and move on. We can't change anything that already have happened, what's done is done. So all we can do now is accept that fact and start moving forward."

"There is nothing gonna happen if we keep dwelling on the past and continue rolling on the ground. So it is better if we raise our heads and stand up for us to start walking towards the future."

This time Faker come back to his senses, he look at Lawless with some weird face before saying to his friend. "What's with that serious speech? And Where the hell did you get those corny lines from? Some sort of Movie? Manga? or Animé?"

The expression on Lawless face become funny when he heard that. Then he looked at Faker fiercely before saying. "Blah! Whatever! It is your all fault for being so sentimental earlier. And speaking of which, Are you still in touch with the other guys?"

"Those b*st*rds? Just forget about them! They are just some kind of traitors that abandoned us in exchange for some sort of fame and a little bit of money. Aside from that little couple, everyone of them are just trash! TRASH!!!" said Faker with a very displeased tone as he stop tossing the pair daggers in the air.

"Ohh.... Those two are still together? That's good, That's good. So how are they?" asked Lawless excitedly.

"Their situation are pretty good. Actually the current them are stronger than you for now. But if you manage to get back on your peak form, then they are still few miles away from you." replied Faker, going back to his nonchalantly attitude.

*****

Meanwhile, a large amount players are gathering outside the western gate of the Holy City. These players are divided in different groups and parties, some groups have the same emblem on their chest, while some have a different kind of symbols. And these people are the players under the subordinate guilds of the Powerhouse 'HeadHunter Guild'.

When some of the passersby saw this huge crowd of players, they can't help themselves for shaking their heads and feel pity for the poor target of this groups.

"What a huge crowd of players. And most of them are Veteran players, are they are going raid some kind of King Class monster or an Overlord?"

"Yeah right. That should be the case."

"Idi*ts! Are the two of you not aware of what really is happening? Those guys are here because they are going to hunt someone down."

"Eh!? That many? Isn't it a little overkill?"

"What!? And whose poor soul is the one that provoke huge Guild like that?"

"From what I've heard, it is the guy that beat a Veteran Party inside the City. That one that suddenly become famous."

"HeadHunter Guild is always like that. They really hate to lose some face."

"Tsk, they are only strong against weak but afraid against strong."

"Yeah, if they want to show some strength, then they should fight someone on their level."

"Hey, lower your voices or else you will be the ones that they are going hunt."

After some moment, the huge crowd started to dispersed and went to the different areas and maps around the Holy City.

....