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75 Map Hacks

 There was no lifestone in the frogmen village, nor any NPCs to perform resurrections. The players could only count on those clerics who'd learned the Resurrection skill.

If their corpses were too badly damaged, not even Resurrection would be possible (at least half the corpse needed to still be intact), in which case you'd have to wait around for three days so you could respawn at a lifestone.

By now, pretty much every one of the players had experienced death before, but for the most part they'd either had a cleric nearby to bring them back to life-or, in the case of the raid on the Rotten Bones Church, they'd revived at Leah's position. Few were the players who'd ever actually had to wait three days for revival.

Invariably, those players who'd gone through it would rather never have to do so again.

Of course, after their demise, they spent their temporary afterlives in Xi Wei's Divine Kingdom. However, as a god, Xi Wei valued his own privacy, and obviously couldn't allow his faithful to wander freely through his domain. He'd long ago set aside a small area where his followers could wait out their penalty time.

The problem was that they retained their consciousness during that time period. Since Xi Wei had no powers over the passing of time, that meant those unlucky faithful were practically being confined to a small dark cell for those three days. In fact, throughout that entire period of time, they'd be unable to move their arms or legs, or even look around. It was an ordeal you could only understand through first-hand experience.

If not for their firm conviction in Xi Wei as the God of Games, along with a boost to their mental fortitude which gave them willpower exceeding the average of a person back on Earth... some of those players might have gone a little strange afterwards.

Xi Wei was aware of the problem, and a solution was already being prepared, but at present it was not an ideal situation.

It was a real dilemma for Xi Wei and his Divine Kingdom.

If he hadn't noticed something amiss with the frogmen village... if he hadn't been paying attention to Leah's conversation with the frogman elder, and noticed how much was being left unsaid... he might have erected a lifestone right in that village, so that his followers could gather there, maybe swing by for some sight-seeing in the future...

However, now that he'd heard the frogmen's story... well, it put him in a tough spot.

Although the frogman elder hadn't exactly said so, it had been made clear enough all the same: Beneath this village could very well be the last resting place of the Aquatic Lord, after his fall during the last Divine War!

The frogmen's prayers must have been feeding faith into the broken remnants of that fallen god for nearly a thousand years now. If not because they were so few in number, not to mention how their prayers were worth less than those of humans, a new divinity might well have been kindled in the Aquatic Lord's remains by now.

That being the case, erecting a lifestone in their village would be akin to starting a nightclub on their burial grounds, and inviting players to rave among the gravestones. It was enough to make the dead come clawing out of their coffins!

\"How about if I set Leah as a revival point again? No, I'm not up against some simple-minded fool of a god this time. If I do the same thing as last time, they'll make me pay through the nose for it. Ah, what a pain in the neck-not that I have a neck at the moment,\" Xi Wei reflected. \"Screw this. For now, let's just try out everything I can think up.\"

The players on the world below, oblivious to the concerns of their god, were bustling to make ready for war, as well as carrying their explorations into the homes of the frogmen.

However, before there was even any sign of the enemy, there was a quest update in the game system.

\"Oh, wow! Are there only sixty-seven enemies this time? There's a bounty on each one!\"

\"Let's have a look... Taking down each target will gain us 'Reward Points'-isn't that kind of similar to the 'Revenge Points' from last time?\"

\"No, this time you can do more with the points than just exchange them for stuff: The top ten players with the highest scores will get extra rewards as well!\"

\"Summer Sun, this 'Black Whip' dude is worth a ton of points!\"

\"We're even getting a full map, so I guess there's no need for recon this time?\"

\"That's not all: It says here that the green dots are players, and the red dots are enemies. They've got no hope at all of catching us by surprise!\"

\"Looking for group! Looking to party! Level-22 Shadow Rogue. Let me take all the last hits, and when I make it into the Top 10, everyone in the team will get a share of the reward!\"

\"Party with me! Level-18 Soul Blade. I can tank, I can DPS. No Rangers!\"

\"What do you have against Rangers? Did one of them kill your cat or something?\"

With all the data on their enemies that Xi Wei had provided, the players felt practically clairvoyant now, and were scrambling to find a team to work with. Already, they were negotiating claims on bounties with one another.

Seeing this spike in their morale, Xi Wei felt some relief. Hopefully, they would do well in this battle.

All those quest rewards would cost him quite a bit of divine energy, but it was a small price to pay to alleviate the massive headache over player deaths and revivals. With a little bit of luck, the pay-off would balance out the costs.

There was also a chance that he would come out of this at a loss, but this battle was necessary nevertheless. Not because of some noble desire to protect the frogmen-Xi Wei wasn't some burning-heart animal-rights activist. If he was going to offer shelter to some species or other, it would have to be something that was bouncy and cute, but also handy in a fight-maybe useful as a mount too, if they were in a different kind of era (even if riding something bouncy into a fight could prove deeply regrettable). Basically, nothing like these slimy toads, here.

What he was really after was the remains of the Aquatic Lord, which quite possibly lay beneath this parcel of land. If he could siphon off those divine remnants, it could grant a huge boon to his own powers, and raise him above all the other minor deities.

If he could do that, then even if the Skull God rallied the last of the Rotten Bones survivors and led them against him, Xi Wei should be able to hold his own.

He was not completely indifferent to the legacy of the frogmen and their thousand-year vigil, but there was a time and place for sentimentality. He had to keep moving towards his goals, and faith was the fuel of a god.

\"Once those players have driven off the Secret Eye Society, I'll task Eleena with playing the role of a priestess. She'll inform the frogmen that their god is about to consecrate their land... This will help persuade them to build a few more structures, which means... yes, a sandy beach hardly makes for a good, solid foundation-so we'll have to perform some excavations, perfectly reasonable. Even if something weird gets dug up, and then vanishes in a flash of light... I'm sure they'll just roll with it.\" Xi Wei's mind was buzzing with schemes, and the more he thought about it, the more excited he became.

\"More to the point: Whatever those excavations might turn up, as long as I make my move quickly enough, no one will have any clue what really happened!\"

Regarding the possibility of finding nothing after all, Xi Wei couldn't deny that it would make all of this a huge waste of time.