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193 Dragon Food, Secret Eye Brand

 Nonetheless, Edward was not so unreasonably cruel that he would have Eleena summon Croakatoa and feed it to the Drake.

Regardless of a drop in their reputation at the frogpeople's village, Croakatoa would not be large enough to be stuck between the Drake's teeth-summoning it now was meaningless free lunch.

They could not pin their hopes on the yellowed-named elves that were supposedly neutral but actually hostile. With that line of thought, they could only rely on the black robe figures in front of them-in other words, the Secret Eye cultists.

There was no telling what they were either: their skins beneath their black robes were blood-red, craggy and looked painful. There was almost no chance that they were still human, but the Drake probably wouldn't be that picky an eater, and just might enjoy some extra taste.

"Joe, stop poking. Get into Evil Blade form and stop those guys right here!"

Even as he gestured for Joe to attack, Edward had drawn out his staff, ready to cast frost spells and freeze the Secret Eye Cultists right there-or in the very least debuff them with slowed movement.

"Can I kill them directly?" Joe asked.

"Of course!"

'We're even cutting the meat millet for old Drake there. How caring could we be?' Edward thought inwardly.

Gathering mana and charging his spell, he was about to blow a huge one at the black-robed figure just in front of him when a black shadow flashed, and the robed figure dropped to the dirt immediately...

It was Eleena who drew first blood with her meteor hammer.

The unlucky Secret Eye cultists had his head blown apart, and was lying on the ground lifelessly.

'Tch, killstealing even now?'

Edward turned to stare at Eleena who was running beside him as if nothing happened, understanding that her ability to steal kills had improved yet again.

From now on, as long as the hate of the Final Boss in raid events did not go OT (off-tank, a player in a raid or party that concentrates on taking pressure off the main tank) to Marnie, their party was definitely going to get the Boss's head.

While his thoughts wandered, Edward's hands never paused: several Frost Bullets, he iced up several of those baggy black robes ahead of himself, forcing them to run slowly and stiffly like mummies.

However, there was no way the Secret Eye demonoids would take those sneak attacks lying down. All of them promptly turned around and retaliated with Death Rays, but were blocked by Jessica's barrier-even if those spells would hit Edward or Joe in between barrier cooldowns, Jessica would quickly cast Purification to dispel their debuffs.

And with their divine healing item that was coke, half the demonoids were down in no time at all, while Edward's side had no problem aside from slightly bloated stomachs.

***

To the rear, the wood elves simply watched what they assumed was human infighting, having no intention to interrupt at all.

The young girl who had been running beside the Secret Eye cultists slowed down discreetly then, intending to slip away to the wood elves.

In the confusion, Edward sharply noticed the leader of the demonoids-whom he wasn't aware was the leader, but he had the highest level amongst the Secret Eye Cultists anyway. That demonoid had quietly taken out something shaped like a silver apple with one hand, and then drew out a light purple dagger with the other which he stabbed into the silver apple.

The girl's face when pale immediately. She staggered and fell.

"Mistress Sefarim!"

It was only then that the elves noticed their greatest treasure whom the Secret Eye Society had concealed with their black robes. All of them started buffing themselves with wind-element spells and dashed up towards the girl.

Edward glanced at them. Knowing that the enemy of an enemy was a friend, his party would feel less pressure if they only targeted the Secret Eye Society now.

Be that as it may, his party was busy running and couldn't even catch a breath-would they even have the time to persuade the elves?

That being said, even a fool could tell the apple-like thing must have something to do with the girl, and might even be the how the Secret Eye Society had managed to lure her to them.

After all, there was no way the elves would let the greatest treasure of their own race running about unchecked.

And since they had decided to get rid of the Secret Eye Society in the first place anyway, they might drop that silver apple too...

Edward's face went pale at that very thought.

Oh, right-anything the Players kill would vanish. In other words, the corpses of the Secret Eye Cultist would not become drake food, and the scent of their blood drove the hungry beast to a greater frenzy instead!

"Joe, Eleena, change of tactics-knock them out but don't kill them! Jessica, keep it coming with the barriers!" Edward issued new orders while blaming himself in irritation. "Damn it, I've let down the God of Games... I'm still bound by common sense."

"Okay, I'll do my best."

"Roger, roger."

"Got it!"

"Rawr."

Why was there one additional reply?

Edward turned his head to look-after the wood elves had left them behind, the Drake had sped up as well and was now right on their heels, its golden reptilian vertical pupil now overflowing with hunger that sends a chill down the spine.

Drakes were a subspecies of dragon and their ability watered down compared to real dragons, and could not even learn Dragonbreath. That being said, their kind could unleash a weaker version that was quite similar, although it did not count as one because that attack didn't have a dragon trait.

And right now, Edward and the others were already within the range of its breath-but the Drake seemed to have no intention of releasing it, either because it didn't want burnt meat or desired a pre-meal workout.

For the Players, none of them were willing to experience being eaten alive by a drake even if they wouldn't really die, which was why Edward's party was bursting out everything they had.

Edward's skill swiftly and precisely struck the big black robe ahead of himself, slowing him down while Joe promptly bludgeoned him with Giant's Toe. Then, to prevent the demonoid from dying, Eleena even bound him with Chains of Penance as well and left him behind.

In moments, a chilling crunch of something being chewed and the screams of the demonoid echoed behind them, and Edward and the others could feel goosebumps. Even if they were the culprit, they didn't dare to turn around to see what was happening behind, and instead swiftly moved on to the next demonoid...

The demonoids naturally were retaliating, but the problem was that the wood elves were now attacking them as well. It appeared that the elves have learned from their greatest treasure that they were the culprit behind her abduction-not only were they interfering with the Secret Eye demonoid's counterattack, they were attacking them alongside Edward's party as well, either to compensate for their disrespect or to avenge their treasure.

Soon, the Secret Eye demonoids were all wiped out, and thrown off as food for the Drake behind them.

Edward even handily collected the object that resembled a silver-apple in the process.

[Unusual fragment: a curious piece of divine power, belonging to Luna, Goddess of the Silver Moon. Just holding it feels like bathing in moonlight.]

Be that as it may, the Drake was still following them, roaring horrifically as if it was becoming even crazier.

"Is that thing not full yet? After eating all those people?" Joe panted.

Given that Joe, who had the best stamina in their party being reduced to that state, it was naturally worse for the others-with their stamina bars now empty, they were now all moving so slowly as unstoppable fatigue made even lifting their feet a torture.

Edward turned towards the Drake then, realizing that its golden pupil had turned slightly scarlet.

"It's not that it isn't full..." He said, annoyed. "The Secret Eye demonoids have corrupted it..."

It had dragon blood even if it's not the descendant of pure dragons, so how could it so be so easily infected by a few human freaks?

That was when Edward noticed that Gou Dan, who had been running ahead of the other Players was @ing him.

[Gou Dan: What did you guys do?]

[Edward: Feeding Secret Eye Cultists to the Drake...]

[Gou Dan: I see, hold on.]

[Gou Dan: (Image)]

The image Gou Dan sent was a screenshot of his quest page.

It was something the Players had discovered lately, which could either be a deliberate setting made by the God of Games or a loophole. While a Player could not see another Player's System page, activating the Player forum's image capture function upon the System page and uploading it would allow other Players to see it.

That discovery made exchanges about quests between Players much convenient, and they no longer had to repeat the content of their quest.

[Ding!]

[Side Quest: The Elves Greatest Treasure II Completed]

[Side Quest: The Elves Greatest Treasure III Started]

[The culprits-the Secret Eye demonoids-have been defeated thanks to your hard work, but as a result, a powerful Drake has been corrupted by demonic scent and showing signs of demonization. Your party's combined strength would never defeat the Drake directly, but the God of Games never forsakes: there is a way to kill it right before your eyes...]

[Quest objective: Defeat the Drake]

[Quest Rewards: Unlocks 'The Elves Greatest Treasure IV', certain EXP, certain Game Coins, Soulbound Scroll]

[Note: 'Is that the Neo Armstrong Cyclone Jet Armstrong Cannon[1]? It's really perfect...']

[1] Lunaelle: I died when Calendarman showed me what this was...