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82 Dont Stop Now!

 Things went exactly as Edward had predicted: Following Black Whip's demise, the enemies no longer had the stomach to continue the fight. It was either surrender or die.

Looking upon their prisoners-of-war, Edward felt a tinge of annoyance, unsure of what to do with them.

At last, the empathetic Vela offered him a solution, "Lord Angora was talking about building more dungeons back in town. Have the players transport our captives there."

When the players had smashed the last skeletons that the Bone Incense had drawn over, they all simultaneously received a System Announcement:

[Quest Complete: Expedition: Defend the Frogmen!]

[Thanks to your tireless efforts, the dark forces of the 'Society of the Secret Eye' from the Valla Empire, deeper within the continent, have been brought to a halt. From this day forward, no one will dare to trifle with the Unnamed Town! Cheers to your valor, for saving the frogmen tribe, and eradicating evil!]

[Quest Reward: A barbecue party will be held in the frogmen village tonight. You may rest there for awhile.]

[Money and Experience Points will soon be credited directly to players.

Reward Points will be calculated and awarded shortly, as well. Please note that the points can only be exchanged for items during the event period (seven days).]

[The system will shut down for upgrading momentarily. In the meantime, certain functions (e.g. quest assignments) may not be available, but player abilities and skills will still work as normal. Thank you for your attention.]

A moment later, the newly received Experience Points caused most of the players to light up as they gained a level. Basking in their hard-won victory, the mood was merry all around.

As the players made plans on where to meet up again, there were some who were beginning to miss the small-town life. However, the majority of the players would be attending the barbecue party.

They left in twos and threes, laughing and chatting as they made their way back towards the village.

The frogmen felt tremendously fond of these humans who'd helped them to throw back their aggressors. Only the elder and Croakatoa, as well as a few others, were actually able to speak their language-however, every time their eyes met, they would exchange a warm 'Hakuna Macroakcroak!' or 'Rua!' Those were the official greetings, now.

Many of the players participating in this event had heard about the trick that Eleena had played on the frogmen, and were raucously attempting conversation across linguistic barriers.

Having gained a nice haul for himself this time, Edward was following everyone to the party when he noticed Eleena trudging dejectedly behind him.

"Is something the matter, Eleena?" She was the youngest survivor from the village, and Edward couldn't help but fuss over her.

"Edward, do you think the God of Games has met with some kind of trouble?" Eleena's dainty brow was furrowed. She was deeply worried about something.

"Are you talking about that guard? Probably an ordinary circumstance." Edward crossed his arms. "We're talking about an omnipotent being, here. What could he possibly have trouble with? You're thinking too much."

Eleena nodded vaguely, but she wasn't fully convinced. Hugging her enormous, weapons-grade grimoire to herself, she prayed in silence.

Even if it was just a little, she'd be happy if her faith could be of some use to her god.


At the moment when Xi Wei received this sincere moment of prayer, the glowing orb of his divine form was lying slumped on the floor, like a mound of slime.

He'd overestimated himself somewhat. Having only just assimilated the Rotten Bones God, he'd rushed over and gulped down a completely different category of divinity. This indigestion of the immanent had resulted in an excruciating experience.

It wasn't that big a deal, but it was profoundly uncomfortable, similar to what follows a careless bout of over-eating, when one is being afflicted by both indigestion as well as constipation.

Honestly, Xi Wei could swear that his orb form had swelled a little in size...

"This trickle of faith... is it coming from Eleena? No personal wishes or desires attached, just her absolute faith in me. That explains the purity of it."

Xi Wei was actually startled by her faith. She certainly was the saint of his order. He'd chosen well.

After he'd absorbed that offering of purest faith energy, he felt a little better. It was probably just his imagination-for a divine being, this amount of faith was next to nothing, not even good enough to pick his teeth with. High-quality faith was great and all, but compared to the remnants of a divine avatar, it was less than a single drop of water in a vast ocean.

Few understood this like Xi Wei did, but he wouldn't let it get him down, instead urging himself to keep forging onwards. There were many souls echoing in his mind now, and he felt the touch of powers that he wasn't entirely comfortable with. He decided to complete the process of assimilation as soon as possible, and then dump the body somewhere.

"No choice," he told himself, his shape still distended beyond relief. "This world is not the sort of place where we have the luxury to grow stronger in the fullness of time."

Remembering the twin blades suspended on horse hairs overhead-one from the Ocean God and the other from the Skull God-Xi Wei whipped himself into action. Even if he was only doing it for the sake of his followers, and for the sake of preventing another tragedy like what happened to Tierra, he couldn't stop in his quest to grow stronger.

Looking down from the heavens upon his players, eating and singing in the frogmen village, smiling contentedly to themselves, Xi Wei whispered, "I won't stop. As long as you keep going, I'll be waiting for you up ahead. So don't you stop either, alright?"

Though he said this, he wouldn't actually be getting anything done with bluster alone. There was a limit to his capacity at the moment, and it wasn't as though he had any medicine for it lying around the place. At this rate, it could take quite a while for him to finish digesting the Aquatic Lord.

"Nothing for it but to keep stumbling along, then. I'll need to come up with some way to squeeze more faith out of my followers. I just finished processing another bit of the Aquatic Lord, so I should be able to manage that much, at least. Still, this Windows 98 speed just isn't cutting it."

At this thought, Xi Wei transformed the faith energy into divine power, and poured it into his PC (Pantheon Computer). Originally, he'd manifested this computer out of his divine power in order to help him manage player data and quests. It was lagging behind nowadays, so it was time for an upgrade and some streamlining.

After a fair bit of miracle magic, the PC was born anew.

"Arise, Windows XP!"