Volume 1: Chapter 20 – The Swamp Monster
These twenty-one【**Bird’s egg】were a significant gain for the group.
They were even happier than if they had received equipment instead!
Such food didn’t only satiate their hunger it also acted as a safeguard for their lives. Even though these items hadn’t been obtained from battle their effects were exceptional!
Zhang Mu kept ten eggs and roasted the other eleven. These roasted eggs became food that could recover their health. After allowing the injured members to consume seven of the roasted eggs, their injuries fully recovered.
Fatty was puzzled as to why Zhang Mu would keep those ten eggs. He asked, “Boss, why did you keep ten eggs? They do not have any other effects from what I can see. We might as well just roast them all!”
Zhang Mu though shook his head, saying, “【**Bird’s Egg】 is actually a FF-grade ingredient. After roasting, the roasted eggs actually dropped to F grade. 2 whole grades lower than before. I think that there are probably some conditions we are missing while cooking, in order to succeed in raising the grade of the end product to a high one. So let’s save some of these ingredients for future use.”
Sun Bing agreed, “What captain said is right. The Poor Roasted Eggs are of a lower grade. I was a chef in the past. If you were to provide a sort of wok and several other ingredients, I guarantee that I’d be able to prepare more delicious meals!”
Fatty replied, “Ah, I understand.”
Zhang Mu continued, “Another reason why I kept the ten was because when I tried placing them inside the gamer’s bag I could only stack up ten eggs together. Ultimately these eggs only take up a single space in the bag.”
Bird’s egg was as big as a fist and surprisingly convenient to carry around. The only downside was how brittle they were. Also, if they were not consumed within a certain period, they would deteriorate in quality, losing their original properties. Only when placed within the gamer’s bag could they be protected from being broken and from the passing of time.
The gamer’s bag only has five inventory slots.
Zhang Mu’s bag already contained a Skill’s Upgrading scroll, a card, a map, and two empty slots meant for other weapons. If he were to roast all the eggs, it was inevitable that everyone’s bags would be fully filled. If that was the case, then where could the battle rewards be stored?
“These ten Bird’s egg will be kept in Fatty’s bag.” Zhang Mu then passed the four Poor Roasted Eggs to Chen Ling and Leng Yun, “The two of you will keep two eggs each.”
Surprised, Fatty asked, “Why did you give me all the raw eggs?”
Zhang Mu glanced at him, saying with a straight face, “If the roasted eggs were to be kept with you, I’m worried something would happen to them.”
“What!? Do you have to be that direct? You guys still don’t trust my character?” Fatty vowed, “This Fatty actually has a nickname known by many – The honest and reliable young master. Everyone can be rest assured that these eggs would be protected with my life! So you can just pass them to me.”
Nobody was looking at him.
Zhang Mu stood up as he observed their current status. They were quite close to the opposite bank of the river. Near their locations there were some areas filled with reeds. They could search these areas for more eggs as they moved on. After all, these eggs were beneficial to them.
Once again, the five of them began gathering a large amount of reeds to craft a new raft. Even though the ropes made from crocodile skins were now fully submerged in the swamp, they had made ample preparations beforehand. Using the excess ropes they eventually crafted a new big raft for the entire group to sail on. Zhang Mu found a bamboo pole somewhere to use as the paddle. They soon set off on the newly-crafted raft.
The group of five began travelling vigilantly on the big raft. As they were on guard, their speed was relatively slow as they paddled their way across. Along the way they searched through three areas of reeds, and spent quite some time in order to obtain 16 【**Bird’s egg】.
At that time, the skies began darkening. It was extremely dangerous to be out in the open within the jungle at night. Before the skies completely embraced the darkness, they would have to find a safe place to stay through the night. They did not have the luxury of travelling safely anymore.
Zhang Mu held onto the raft as they sailed towards the other bank. Gradually, the terrain became higher and the swamp became drier. In between them and the other bank was a full 200-300 meters of distance filled with pitch-black swamp mud. This meant that the mud did not have much water within.
“The swamp actually dried up?” Leng Yun tried inserting the bamboo pole into the swamp, yet over half of it could not penetrate through. Frowning, she said, “It’s at least 2 meters deep, how are we going to move across?”
Zhang Mu started thinking deeply over the current situation. He tried testing the hardness of the swamp mud, nodding, “There’s still a way across. As the swamp mud has been basking under the sun for a long period of time, the surface is relatively hard. Although it can not withstand the pressure of us walking across it, if we were to make use of the reeds around us to craft some flatted boards, the swamp mud will be able to somewhat support us. This will allow us to get across it without easily sinking.”
The few of them started collecting reeds, tying them tautly with the remnant ropes and crafting them into a plank as long as a snow sled and as wide as a washing board. The bamboo poles were broken up into sections and connected to the reeds, then used as a sort of fan to aid them in advancing across the mud.
“This will do,” Zhang Mu said after testing it out. “Let’s go.”
There were no problems for the rest, except for Fatty, who choked seeing the situation. He weighed a full 125 kilograms. Even though the crafted board was extremely big, moving across the mud was still quite problematic for him. Sun Bing and Zhang Mu were both helping Fatty spread out the pressure, step by step.
This method was quite useful. As long as they traversed slowly and did not exert too much force, the mud could still be quite stable.
The bank was near. There was hope.
Something unexpected happened halfway through.
The swamp mud in front of them and the surroundings suddenly turned over. Huge amounts of bubble and mud were effervescing up to the surface. They were surrounded by a dozen of strange-looking creatures that were standing up slowly on top of the mud. Similar to humans, the had a head and four limbs. It was just that they did not have the five sensing organs, toes or fingers. They were overflowing with pulpy mud, full of rotten water rhizomes. It seemed as if they had soaked for three days and three nights inside the mud, before surfacing.
“Damn!” Fatty cursed out loud, “Why must every single unlucky incident happen to us!”
【Swamp Monster】(Common), Level 8, 70 Health Points, 50 Mana, Attributes: ??, Skills: ??
Even though they were just ordinary-ranked monsters, their levels were not low. Thus, it was hard to determine if they were strong or not. Taking into consideration the fact that they were currently on the unstable swamp mud environment as well, battling against these monsters became much harder.
Chen Ling nervously said, “Captain, it seems like they are coming over. What should we do?”
Zhang Mu pulled her with him, “What can we do? Let’s hurry and escape!”
The Swamp Monsters had extremely slow reactions. From the moment they had surfaced from the mud until now, instead of attacking, they actually lingered for over ten seconds in their current position before finally locking onto the positions of Zhang Mu and the rest. Even though their movements were slow, it was more than enough to surround the group of five.
Leng Yun brought out her Fish Bone Staff and utilised some of her recovered mana to cast an Ice Arrow towards the Swamp Monster. She killed it instantly with a shocking 80 damage. However this did not improve their situation at all. Now Leng Yun did not have any mana left. Even if she did have some leftover, the spell cooldown for an Elemental Mage was too long.
“Quick, let’s escape!”
Zhang Mu and Sun Bing continued supporting Fatty while advancing. They were merely 100 meters away from land.
One of the Swamp Monsters nearby suddenly stopped. It raised both of its arms and gathered some green-coloured liquid, then tossed it over at the group of five. Seeing the incoming ball of green liquid, Zhang Mu immediately dodged, letting the ball fall harmlessly into the mud. Before he had enough time to catch his breath from the immediate reaction, he frowned at seeing what had happened to his bamboo paddle.
The green ball of liquid had only brushed across the bamboo lightly, but the affected area of the bamboo broke apart under the liquid’s powerful corrosion attribute.
Zhang Mu threw away the decimated bamboo. “Everyone, be careful. This is the ‘Acid Bomb’ spell. It could corrode our equipment away and it’s quite damaging. Do not get hit by it.”
Meeting the Swamp Monster in such an environment was already considered bad luck. What was worse was the fact that these monsters actually had a spell in their arsenal. Even though it was just a single spell and the damage caused by 【Acid bomb】 was not that high, it had the frightening corrosion attribute. This could reduce the players’ defence, at the same time corroding the players’ equipment, reducing its durability and attributes.
More and more Swamp Monsters began gathering acid bombs and tossing them at the five. It was fortunate that these monsters’ consciousness was weak, as they could not aim accurately. More than half of the acid bombs completely missed the group, while the other half were being dodged.
Suddenly, a ball of acid bomb came flying straight towards Sun Bing.
He did not have enough time to dodge, and could only defend himself with his shield. With a Splat, the glue-like acid stuck on the shield’s surface, and soon ‘Chi Chi’ sounds of corrosion started coming from it. Soon enough, the shield’s durability was reduced by four points and its defense by several points. Without a doubt, he felt heartbroken, since this item was his trademark.
Leng Yun urgently said, “Their numbers are increasing.”
Zhang Mu urged the others on, “Hurry up! Hurry up!”
They could see that more and more Swamp Monsters were surfacing from the swamp. If they didn’t hurry, they’d be surrounded. in no time. Once surrounded, it was only a matter of time before a barrage of acid bombs would corrode them to their bones
Only 40-50 meters left!
At this moment, a ball of acid bomb hit Fatty’s thigh, corroding his pants and a large area of his flesh beneath. White smoke came out from his wound. Fatty cried out in pain, “Damn, my leg!”
Zhang Mu took out a bamboo stick and inserted into the mud before saying, “It’s not that deep here. Quickly! Go towards the bank!”
Everyone jumped into the mud and started making their way across towards land. The mud was only one meter deep here, so advancing was a doable task, especially with their new-found physical strength.
The number of Swamp Monsters continued increasing, causing the encirclement of the group to tighten up even further as the barrage of acid bombs became even denser.
Zhang Mu’s back was hit by the acid bomb as well. It took every bit of his focus to endure the unimaginable pain and that burning hot feeling of decomposition. He did not know how his back looked though it was highly possible it had already rotted away.
“Ah, I can’t endure any longer!”
Fatty’s chest got hit by another acid bomb causing him to roar out his feelings. He used his skill, Brutal Charge to charge forward like a bulldozer. He left behind a deep empty gouge, relentlessly rushing towards the Swamp Monster who had just tossed the acid bomb on his chest. The force was so great that it crashed half of the monster. Without waiting, Fatty took out his great sword and slashed down at its middle.
The moment Zhang Mu touched the hard ground, he took out his dual-wield weapon and rushed forward with a blade flash, cutting many of the Swamp Monsters into pieces.
The two of them opened up a path, exterminating all the Swamp Monsters ahead, so that the other three could safely advance towards land. Finally, they escaped their plight.
Over a hundred Swamp Monsters continued their way up the land, even though their movement speed was slow and could not catch up with the group of five.
Zhang Mu and Fatty continued their task of opening up the way. The Swamp Monsters only knew how to toss acid bombs, and nothing else. Their close-combat ability was terrible, allowing the two of them to exterminate over a dozen monsters despite the Swamp Monsters’ high health.
From head to toe, Fatty cut a Swamp Monster down in two halves with a slash of his great sword, turning it back into a puddle of mud. Suddenly, something dropped from it. Looking carefully, he realised that, shockingly, a skillbook had actually dropped from the mob!
These small stingy monsters hadn’t even dropped any gold pieces, yet now they dropped a skillbook?
Fatty was so happy that he momentarily forgot about his pain. Without hesitation, he grabbed the book.