Chapter 80. Mythical Beast (3)
Yeon-woo creased his brows.
‘Why is she doing this?’
The Phoenix he knew, although it was somewhat arrogant in nature, usually wasn’t this hostile to players. Even when players trespassed her territory, often times, it would just observe them and see what they did.
But for some reason, the Phoenix he was dealing with did not fit the description.
First things first, Yeon-woo tried to settle down the Phoenix via conversation.
"I've come here for the Flame of Life. Will you kindly grant me your quest?"
『Begone, you filthy human! I have nothing to share with your kind.』
But he was rejected right away.
Yeon-woo tried to persuade her several times after that, but the answer was always the same.
Something was definitely wrong here.
But strangely, he didn’t feel like she was going to hurt him.
‘For some reason, she reminds me of a cowering hedgehog.’
Hedgehogs are cowardly by nature. When facing a predator, they tend to erect their pointy spines in order to hide that they are scared.
And that's how the Phoenix sounded like to him right now.
Although it was a little bit funny to compare a legendary beast to a tiny animal, that’s how strange the situation felt.
And above all, unlike her threats, he didn't feel any threat coming from her, even when she could kill him as easily as lifting a finger.
‘Something must have happened to her… But what could it be?’
Then a sudden thought flashed across Yeon-woo’s mind.
The weakness that humans, animals, and beasts all have in common.
The period when all living things become cautious and extremely sensitive.
Yeon-woo began to climb up the rock wall.
The Phoenix threatened Yeon-woo more furiously, but he didn’t stop his steps.
Soon, he arrived at the mouth of the cavern.
『Human! How dare you set foot inside my nest!"』
From the inside of the cave, he saw something gleaming in the pitch darkness. Something yellow and huge.
They were the eyes of the Phoenix.
And they were spitefully glaring at the uninvited guest.
But just like when he was outside the cave, she still didn’t try to expel Yeon-woo from her nest.
From her uncertain attitude, Yeon-woo became more certain of his assumption.
He quickly cast Draconic Eyes and examined the inside of the cave.
Deep inside the cavern, he spotted the hulking figure of a red bird curled up in the darkness.
A bird entwined with faint flames.
Her body was so large that Yeon-woo thought his body would look like an ant in her eyes.
‘If her crouched body is this big, then how big will she be when she spreads her wings out?’
As Yeon-woo examined her majestic body, he noticed there was something sticking out under her belly. There, he found two eggs.
‘I knew it.’
His assumption was right.
"You have eggs.”
『That is none of your business. Now, away with you from my presence. I have no time for you.』
The Phoenix still snarled at Yeon-woo, but he could tell there was a hint of uneasiness mixed into the thought she transferred.
At the same time, she became extremely vigilant.
Though she was restraining herself for fear of hurting the eggs, he could see the flame around her body rippling as if waiting to burn him down.
‘But she probably can’t move from her spot right now. I can feel there’s not much time left before the eggs hatch.’
He could understand why the Phoenix became so sensitive.
Yeon-woo then looked straight into the Phoenix’s eyes and asked a question.
"Did you lose an egg?"
A momentary silence.
"I hit the bull’s eye, didn’t I?"
『...So? Have you come to mock me? Please, just get out of my nest.』
The egg of the legendary beasts. That kind of item could be sold at a high price among the players. So quite a few clans and players tried to steal these eggs even at the risk of their lives.
Yeon-woo felt a little sorry for the Phoenix. Because he knew about the love parents had for their children better than anyone will ever know.
Looking at the Phoenix, it reminded him of his mother, who had spent her remaining days worrying about her lost son and had called her son’s name till her last breath.
"If I can bring your egg back....”
So Yeon-woo wanted to help her.
"Will you grant me your quest?"
Besides, this was also a chance for him.
The man's offer perplexed the Phoenix. Then she narrowed her eyes in efforts to read Yeon-woo’s intentions, to see if he was hiding anything.
As a legendary beast, she could read, though not perfectly, into a human’s thoughts.
And she could tell what Yeon-woo had said was all true. There was no other scheme behind his words.
『...Do as you please.』
The Phoenix then closed her eyes and laid her head back.
It was permission.
At that moment,
[Sudden Quest / Phoenix's Egg]
Description: The ruler of the southern forest, the Phoenix, had one of her eggs stolen while she was away looking for food for his soon-to-be-hatched babies. Find Phoenix’s lost egg and bring it back to her. Phoenix will never forget your kindness.
Time limit: Before the egg hatches.
1. Phoenix's favor
2. Qualification for the quest ‘Flame of Life'
3. If you're not reading this at forum.wuxiaworld.com, you're reading stolen work. Don't support those websites.
* * *
‘Now, how do I catch those guys with the egg?’
Yeon-woo began to organize his thoughts as he climbed down the rock wall.
Originally, he was going to set up a base camp in a suitable location near the Phoenix’s nest and check the rewards he got. But apparently, he would have to postpone that plan.
‘I just hope this won’t take too long.’
From what he could tell, there was not much time left before the egg hatched. He had to hurry up and catch the thieves as soon as possible.
‘The description doesn’t say exactly how much time I have. But it won’t be more than 24 hours.’
Fortunately, there were strange traces everywhere near the cave.
It seemed like the thieves were too busy hiding from thePhoenix that they forgot to erase their traces
Yeon-woo was already used to chasing down people using these kinds of traces from when he had to track down fleeing guerrilla units and shoot them down back in Africa.
After checking the direction where thieves went off to, Yeon-woo set out in search of the egg.
* * *
“Uhaha! What a piece of cake!"
"Heehee, who would have guessed that the Phoenix would leave just as we arrived there?”
Vian and Lahm laughed out loud as they exited the forest area.
The two were carrying an egg that was as big as their upper body.
It was the Phoenix’s lost egg. It was also the symbol of good luck that would make them rich.
In fact, Vian and Lahm weren't expecting much when they stepped into Phoenix's territory.
Because the Phoenix was said to be highly vigilant among the four legendary beasts dwelling in the dream world.
Although in their opinion, they were two of the best treasure hunters, this request was too difficult.
But as if the odds were on their side, they saw the Phoenix leaving her nest just when they arrived at the rock wall.
Without missing the chance, the two of them were able to steal an egg.
They only succeeded in stealing one egg due to her early return, but stealing one egg was still a huge gain.
"You know what? I think we should call a higher price when we get there. I mean, they won’t be able to get this egg from anywhere other than us. If they want this, they’re gonna have to pay whatever price we say, right?”
"Or actually, there’s a better way."
"A better way?"
"Yup. We could take it for ourselves."
Shocked by Ram’s sudden remark, Vian opened his eyes wide.
"Hold on! What if we get caught?”
"We’ll have to go into hiding. Don’t just think of getting caught and look at the bright side. We have an egg of the Phoenix, man! If we can stay hidden until it grows into an adult, they won't be able to do anything to us."
Then, Vian’s eyes brimmed with greed.
So far he had been too busy stealing the egg to think about the alternatives, but in fact, Ram had a point there.
The players who commissioned them were someone they couldn’t mess with. They were famous for being strong, relentless, merciless, but above all, they abhorred those who touched their pride.
But what about it?
If they kept this egg, they could become the owner of a Phoenix. They could be one of the few that owned a legendary beasts
Then, would their employers be able to stand up against them?
No, on the contrary, they would have to grovel at their feet.
Furthermore, it could also open up an opportunity for him to become a real ranker, something which he had only dreamed about.
‘If that happens…!'
But as Vian was lost in thoughts, planning his a rosy future, a sudden feeling of anxiety possessed him.
‘Wait a minute. Then who will be the owner of Phoenix?’
But his anxiety was soon swallowed by greed.
‘Does it have to be two people?’
Vian peeked at Ram.
Ram was a useful partner. They had been working as a team for three years.
But as most treasure hunters did, they simply banded together out of necessity, and there wasn't any particular loyalty or friendship between themselves.
At that moment, the greed that filled Vian’s eyes was quickly replaced with murderous intent.
But Ram suddenly turned his head his way and grinned. Vian quickly hid his murderous intent and put on a feigned smile.
"What is it?"
"I think you're thinking the same thing after all."
Vian suddenly coughed up a mouthful of blood. His vision started to spin, and his body felt heavier.
Vian soon collapsed onto the floor. But he still tried to hold the egg in his arm.
When he looked up, Ram was looking down at him with a cold smile.
"Well, you know how things work in our field of work, right? So please, don’t feel too badly of me. If I hadn't done this first, you'd have done it, isn’t that right?"
"You remember the bottle of water I gave you a while ago? I put some Mandrake juice in it, but you didn’t seem notice even as you drank it. I was surprised how well it worked since you always doubt whenever I give you something.”
He remembered himself drinking water out of the bottle Ram had handed him. He didn’t even think of doubting anything because he was so thirsty from running so hard.
And that was Vian’s last word.
Ram grinned as he checked if he was dead.
"A Phoenix's egg. Damn, this is a jackpot. I’ve been waiting so long for this to happen.."
Ram wondered where should he go hide with the egg.
If the client gets word of him running off after acquiring the egg, they will search everywhere for him.
In order to avoid them, he really had to hide as perfectly as possible.
At least for three years.
It was the time needed for a Phoenix to grow into an adult.
Once that was over, he would have the life of a ranker waiting for him.
He felt the egg wriggling in his arm, but he ignored it and continued walking away from the forest.
No, he was going to walk away, but his body didn't listen to his command.
Then he felt something in the center of his chest.
When he looked down, he found the blade of a sword, protruding from his chest.
"What just happened...?"
Leaving the sentence unfinished, Ram slowly fell forward.
Yeon-woo then quickly circled around him, carefully taking the egg from his arms.
Yeon-woo clicked his tongue as he looked at the thieve's two corpses.
He, in fact, had found them long before they had even escaped the forest region.
He wanted to ambush them from behind, but he was worried they would drop the egg in the heat of combat. So he chose to follow them from behind, waiting for the right chance to strike.
But the chance came not long after he started watching. They started fighting for the eggs. And as expected, Yeon-woo didn’t miss such a great opportunity.
Yeon-woo cast Flame Infusion and burned both of the bodies to ashes.
‘I wish every quest was this easy.’
To be honest, it was too easy.
* * *
‘Ah! My child! Thank goodness, you’re alright!'
[Sudden Quest (Phoenix’s egg) completed.]
Yeon-woo smiled faintly as he watched the Phoenix shedding tears of joy.
‘I’m glad it worked out.’
Yeon-woo suddenly had a burning desire to see his mom once again.