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190 I Heard You Have High Physical Defense?

 Gou Dan wasn't deliberately giving Edward a half-hearted reply.

After all, being a war reporter, he enjoyed writing a huge chunk of text during quests and post it on the forum, only to have other Players would comment 'TLDR (too long, didn't read)' beneath it.

In other words, he really wasn't free at the moment.

Since almost twenty people were now chasing him down to kill him.

"We really run into them everywhere..." Gou Dan was leaping from tree to tree, but couldn't resist turning to look at the words hovering above his pursuers' heads.

They are from the Secret Eye Society.

"Tch. Fight me one by one if you have the balls! No gentleman lynches!"

As a matter of fact, Gou Dan really wouldn't worry about those Secret Eye Society members individually, who were at best Level 30.

But there's no way he could survive against all of them.

***

It was just five minutes ago when Gou Dan found them sinisterly leading a bound young girl who was around ten years old, quietly heading towards the outskirts of the forest.

Her face was bruised here and there and obviously battered, and her eyes were full of fear.

Even so, she did not even dare to struggle now.

When Gou Dan saw that, he naturally leapt down to kill the hostiles immediately.

Initially, he had intended to take the Grand Hunter route after changing class to Junglewalker. However, it was not time to do so yet since he had not taken delivery of the AWM which he had gotten Marni to buy for him at the auction, and because the weapons he had at the moment were too crude to deal any serious damage as a Grand Hunter.

Therefore, he simply allocated some skill points down the druid-or more correctly, the Beastmorph branch, and would retrain himself as a Hunter King when he finally received that godly bow.

Although Beastmorph skills appeared to be all over the place, it was versatile and Gou Dan found them quite useful after adapting to it.

Including Bearmorph at Level 25, in which he assumes the form of an ordinary bear.

That in turn would beg the question: how powerful is a bear?

For that, one should note that when Gou Dan and the others first left their village, their party had killed a bear when their average Level was 5... And with Gou Dan's current stats as a Level 40 player, the bear he morphs into would definitely be stronger than a normal bear, though that would be all there is to it.

Nonetheless, leveling the Bearmorph skill up to Level 2 (Player Level 30 required) would change the user to a twin-headed bear, a creature that was infinitely resembling of magical beasts with its thick hide and dragon fangs. It wouldn't be a problem to defeat an Extraordinaire using that form strengthened with Player stats, but Gou Dan felt that he could break his own spirit if he used it for too long.

At Level 3, he would morph into a Steelchomper that easily chew through ores and bite through weapons with its overwhelming fighting force. It looked quite cute too, even if it could kill a bear with a single slap.

At Level 4-Gou Dan's current Bearmorph skill level, he would immediately assume the form of an Earthen Ursa, a standard earth-element magical beast. Having the passive skills of stone skin and Earth's Breath, he has stunning physical defense and could keep healing himself as long as he stood on the ground. With it, he surpassed Joe's Spirit Swordsman class in terms of durability (which decreases max health) to become the team's best meat shield.

If it wasn't for the skill only lasting three minutes-after of which the life crystal before Gou Dan chest would start blinking and beeping a warning, Gou Dan is convinced that he could fight three other Players of his level albeit of different class alone!

And given that the Bearmorph skill goes up to Level 6, Gou Dan could hardly imagine what monster he would turn into at max level...

***

Nonetheless, while Gou Dan had assumed that dropping from the skies in his Earthen Ursa form would definitely throw the Secret Eye Society members into disarray, scare them off so that they leave the girl and-should they resist-wipe them all out!

But before he could put up a show, the Secret Eye Society members all moved in synchrony to fire off some black ray.

Their barrage blasted away half of Gou Dan's HP, startling him and forcing him to flee.

'Tch, they're actually using spells!? Are those swords at your hips just decorations! Come slash me, and I wouldn't be a bear if I so much as frowned!'

On the other hand, the Secret Eye Society members also gave up on staying on their path for some reason and chased after Gou Dan instead.

He had a hunch then that the reason would be something like 'You know too much!'

Be that as it may, the more he was hit by those rays, the more Gou Dan felt his pace slowed.

As he turned on his stat page, he suddenly found a 'Withering' status on his stats bar. While there wasn't any specific information of its effect, it was clearly slowly eating away at every single stat Gou Dan has.

"Death Ray? Were they cultists?"

After all, Death Ray was a signature skill of cultists, including the High Priest of Rotten Bones.

Still, the effects of that skill do vary between the evil gods they believe in: the Death ray which the High Priest of Rotten Bones release caused direct damage and softens a Player's bones, causing them to become brittle in battle...

"Holy Water... or was it Wanglaoji[1]? Nah, I used mine when we were fighting that Eight-eyed Spider..."

With Jessica and Eleena who could cast Purification and Exorcism Ring nowhere near, Gou Dan realized that things were not really going well for him.

That was when he suddenly realized that someone had @ed him on the forum.

In a bind, Gou Dan ignored all else and opened the forums, braving the risk of crashing into a tree because he was too busy looking at the system page.

He then found out that it was Edward.

The others appeared to have solved things on their end-or were solved, but either way Edward had the free time to send him a bucketload of text.

Gou Dan scanned through it with the speed he developed through writing war reports, skimming through ten lines at once to understand the story in the last chapter and the present situation.

"I see, so that girl is the Divine Spear Sefarim, and it's the Secret Eye Society who stole the elves' greatest treasure..." Gou Dan had wanted to tell Edward what he learned on this end, but the enemies were hot on his heels and he was a hundred percent going to be blown up if he distracted himself any further than reading the System page.

Moreover, he believed that he has another solution to resolve the present crisis.

"Weren't you chasing after me? Come then!"

Gou Dan whipped out a bottle of potion labeled 'Jizhi Syrup[2]' and handily applied it to his own body. The item was actually known as a Lure Brew amongst the Players that would rapidly attract every monster in a dungeon-and Gou Dan was planning to use it to cause confusion amongst the cultists and slow them down.

Then, he casted Leopardmorph, deciding on a direction before rapidly dragging along a horde of monsters towards Edward and the others.

"What's that name again? I don't know when it suddenly became a trend in the forums, but it's got a ring to it during moments like this..."

Gou Dan then roared like a tiger, his voice echoing throughout the forests and echoing over the skies.

"Leeeeeeerooooooy.... Jeeeeeeenkiiiiiiiiiiiiiiins!"

[1] Wong Lo Kat (Chinese: ) or Wanglaoji in Mandarin pinyin, is a Chinese herbal tea.

[2] A brand of cough syrup.