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99 The Barren Gian

 "That's right, compared to these poor little villages, the mountain bandits' hideout is obviously the real treasure trove!" Seeing Edward showing interest, Jom immediately started pushing his sales pitch even harder, "And after the two excursions we've had with them, aside from the Boss the Barren Giant, there probably aren't that many enemies left!"

Indeed, the two battles they had in the afternoon and at night had already dealt with roughly sixty enemy units, and all of them were healthy young men. Even the largest gangs had a limit to how much power they could possess, too big and there would be too much in-fighting and too much commotion, they would be culled by the surrounding churches.

Although the mountain bandits had a track record of beating the Holy Corps of the Garden of Grains, that didn't say much about their strength. The Holy Corps of the Garden of Grains had basically the worst combat strength among all large-scale churches. I mean, you couldn't expect a group of farmers without any supernatural blessings to be all the powerful, could you?

This also caused their strength as a whole to not be all that imposing, even though they had many, many believers, the God of the Harvest was still stuck at the edge of the Greater Gods, unable to advance to the status of Divine Father.

"That's true, do you know where the mountain bandits' hideout is?"

Edward wasn't a hot head that made rash decisions-he immediately asked Jom for more information.

"Er..." Jom went mute.

Right, where was the mountain bandit' hideout?

Was there a hostage they could question? He scanned over the battlefield and found the only thing left breathing was a heavily damaged chocobo... A group of players was currently standing around it debating how long it could live and whether or not Coca-Cola would have any effect on it, the whole scene was very creepy.

No wonder the villagers kept their distance.

Then, the skinny old gray Shar-Pei who had listened in to the entire conversation from the village entrance suddenly stood up, barking at Jom.

"Where's the dog from?" Gou Dan furrowed his brows, feeling that the situation had more than meets the eye.

The Shar-Pei ignored Gou Dan, continuing to bark in Jom's direction.

Jom was confused before coming to the realization of what it was trying to do. "You want to get revenge for your owner?"

The Shar-Pei didn't nod, but it stopped barking and started sniffing the ground, a moment later it ran off in the direction the mountain bandits came from, turning around to bark at Jom after running a few steps.

"Let's follow it."

Jom quickly told Edward and the others the story of the dog, thus Edward made his decision.

The other players decided to tag along too-they had come all this way in hopes of being able to take down a Boss, so there wasn't much point in them staying in the dinky little village anyways.

Most of the villagers stayed at the village, but a few hunters followed the players with Joey leading them.

"We're going to go duke it out with the barren giant, why are you lot coming?" Terry asked Joey as they followed the dog, "You'll just get in the way."

He was a straightforward person and didn't try to hide what he wanted to say, putting his thoughts clearly right in front of Joey and the rest of the hunters.

-You guys are too awful, you'll only hold us back while we're fighting the Boss if you follow us.

"I know we probably won't be of much help." Joey stayed silent for a moment, he had realized that his original assumption about the kids was probably wrong. The two boys weren't kids who had been thrown into war when they were just children, their personalities weren't cultivated from endless torture and bloodshed either, they were cultivated by these gang of weirdos in front of them who could laugh and joke while they were on the way to face a foe infinitely stronger than them.

These people were definitely weird, some of them were obviously quite... interesting characters, but from what Joey could see, they were undoubtedly good people. Jom and Terry would definitely be better off with these people than they would be with him, so he wasn't going to mention adopting them anymore. "But at least we can watch you fight from the sidelines, and if anything goes south, we can rush back to the village to get them prepared."

Jom looked at him and didn't speak, Terry didn't continue shooing them back either.

The other players didn't really care much-they were just a few neutral units, and their levels were so low, whether they were there or not didn't really affect the outcome at all.

When the players got to the mountain bandits' hideout with the Shar-Pei's lead, they found that they might have underestimated their enemy a little.

The mountain bandits' hideout was built on a cliff. Maybe 'built' wasn't exactly the right word, because they dug out the midsection of the cliff and made the hollowed out portion their hideout.

The players raised their heads to look at the bandit hideout and started discussing their plans of attack.

Some players even uploaded pictures and updates on their current situation onto the forum, letting players who couldn't make it be able to join in on the discussion and share some of their thoughts.

When the players got closer to the hideout, a huge unassuming chunk of rock beneath the cliff suddenly came to life, swinging its car-sized rocky fist in their direction!

"This is the barren giant?" Jom who was standing in the front easily dodged the enemy's sluggish attack and felt that something was off. Although the rock man had incredibly high attack power, his fist made a sizable crater in the earth. Anyone who got hit would immediately become a pancake, but its speed was way too slow to pose any sort of threat to the players.

Soon after, the health bar and name appeared above the attacking rock man.

[Stone Golem, Elite, Level 12]

Following that, many more stone golems emerged from beneath the ground, a rough count gave them over ten of these monsters.

"These things look like the barren giant's underlings, we need to get rid of them before the Boss comes!" The highly experienced monster hunter in Edward came out, immediately starting to command the other players to attack these golems.

These high attack high defense but extremely low-speed stone golems were no match at all for the players, most of them were quickly taken out, leaving only a few left standing.

Obviously the people designing their security system didn't expect their stone golems to be taken out so easily. When the last stone golem was just about dead, a rhythmic vibration resonated through the ground.

Thud, thud-

Thud, thud-

Then, a hand several times larger than the stone golem's entire body placed itself on the top of the mountain, pulling up a terrifying shadow previously hidden by the steep cliff walls.

It was a monster almost thirty meters tall, almost as tall as the cliff. Its weight was hard to estimate but it shook the earth with every step it took. It was a super creature that could turn trees into powder without even trying and rival the likes of mythical dragons.

It was a monster with a humanoid form, but its body was covered in craggly rocks and its skin was tougher than castle walls, aside from a large gray eye on its face, it didn't appear to have any other organs.

The barren giant.