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▪️ILLUSION OF A HARD LABORER

After being prompted by the system, Ji Gang followed the navigation direction through the minimap and arrived at the teleportation array marked as ‘Black Dragon Castle.’

“This task appears to involve locating Black Dragon Meryer in order for him to assign me a feeding task, and, oh… what’s this? A friendly tip? Let’s see, after receiving the task, I must address him as Lord Silver Dragon; otherwise, there’s a chance the task might not succeed?”

Ji Gang felt a bit confused.

Nevertheless, despite the strangeness of it, he still decided to continue on and quickly entered the teleportation array.

The array released a sudden burst of light, causing Ji Gang’s surroundings to spin briefly. Inadvertently, he shut his eyes and when he opened them once more, the surrounding scenery before him had already changed.

It was no longer the Chosen City, but an ancient and desolate castle instead!

The imposing structure stood tall, appearing to be purposefully designed for accommodating large creatures. Moreover, the interior was expansive, with the castle gate itself measuring over ten meters in height.

As Ji Gang exited the teleportation array, he immediately saw several well-equipped earlier batch of beta-testers roasting meat over by a bonfire outside the castle and right next to them, a cart was stacked high with piles of roasted meat, forming a pile more than half a person tall.

Huh, why are they roasting so much meat?

Ji Gang was taken aback.

Upon noticing the light emanating from the teleportation array, the older group of players shifted their focus towards him. They tried scanning him over from head to foot and when their gaze fell upon Ji Gang’s novice gear, a spark of excitement ignited within their eyes.

“A newcomer from the third round?”

One of the female players dressed in a dazzling mage robes curiously asked. Her username, ‘Little Salty Cat’ hovering above her head.

Little Salty Cat?

That username sounds really familiar. Ji Gang was sure he’d seen it somewhere online in the past…

Most likely she’s probably some famous ElvKing player of some sort.

These thoughts crossed Ji Gang’s mind, and he quickly smiled in response.

“Umm, yes, hello, seniors! I’m here to find the Black Dra—Oh, I mean Lord Silver Dragon! the NPC in charge of Livestock Caretaking Tasks.”

After hearing his words, the veteran players who were roasting meat exchanged glances and nodded at each other.

The player with the username “Little Salty Cat” gestured for another player to flip a piece of meat on the grill before turning her gaze back to Ji Gang with a smile.

“You’ll have to wait for a bit. Currently Meryer has gone for a walk, so he probably won’t be back until mealtime.”

Mealtime?

As Ji Gang observed the skewered meats held by the older players, his face twisted in bewilderment. He then attempted to connect their actions with the disappearance of the Black Dragon.

Noticing his gaze, Little Salty Cat smiled and said,

“This is also a task for us, specifically its Meryer’s personal task. You see, preparing lunch for him comes with a decent reward. So, if you’re skilled at barbecuing, then you’ll be able to claim the reward when Meryer returns.”

I see.

Ji Gang nodded.

After delving into ElvKing’s lore and game mechanics beforehand, Ji Gang knew that there were four types of tasks available within the game.

The most important of which is the tasks involving the main storyline.

These tasks are referred to as ‘Quests’ instead and it usually involve the goddess Evé or the other factions. They can be randomly triggered as players explore the game world. The distinguishing feature of these tasks compared to others is that triggering them can advance the game’s overarching plot.

Players who triggered the main or hidden main quests generally receives a considerable rewards and might even receive a summons from the goddess, gaining enviable skills in return.

Therefore, main storyline quests were considered the best type of tasks within Elven Kingdom.

Next were sidequests and daily tasks.

Mainly dependent on the main storyline quests, these two task csn be directly assigned by the game system. The former could only be accomplished once, whereas the latter only provides smaller rewards but could be repeated instead.

The [Feed the Livestock] task Ji Gang received via the system was an example of a daily task.

Then there were also the personal tasks.

These are private tasks that NPCs can assign to players based on their needs, with the rewards contingent upon the rarity of the NPC and the player’s favorability toward them. Typically, experienced players prefer receiving such tasks from NPCs they are closely acquainted with.

It is said that purple-class NPCs could even offer generous rewards, often amounting to what you would typically receive from completing a main quests!

The players roasting meat were participating in a private personal task given by the Black Dragon.

While Ji Gang conversed with these more experienced, groups of players, a distant roar of a dragon suddenly echoed in the distance.

“RUUA——!”

Accompanied by strong winds, a huge shadow loomed over Ji Gang and the others from above.

Looking up, he saw a massive creature with a wingspan of over twenty meters swooping down towards them…

Ji Gang’s legs shook involuntarily, and his face turned pale with fear due to the dragon’s formidable aura, characterized by its black scales and intimidating skeletal armor.

A Black Dragon! It really is a Black freakin’ Dragon!

Even though he had witnessed this creature flying in the air a while back in Chosen City, the distance back then was simply too far for him to perceive much of the Dragon’s imposing appearance.

However, at that moment, such a creature landed directly in front of him. The suffocating pressure it emanated, coupled with its innate aura of a superior being, was simply overwhelming for him. This inadvertently instilled Ji Gang with a profound sense of dread.

Even though he knew it was merely a game, the immersion factor of this game was simply just too real, leaving him genuinely frightened for his life…

“Hey, Meryer! There’s a newbie with us! Look, you scared the poor guy!”

Little Salty Cat shouted at the Black Dragon.

She then employed one of her mage skills to disperse the dust that had been stirred up when Meryer landed. Annoyance laced her tone as she spoke,

“How many times do I have to tell you to maintain your distance first before landing? Seriously, we’re all coated in dust… Just look, even your meal are covered in it! Come on, remember that you’re a massive dragon, so be careful next time geez!”

Watching the petite female player talk casually with the fearsome dragon, Ji Gang was fully taken aback.

What surprised him even more was that the menacing-looking Black Dragon wasn’t angry at all. Instead, it just awkwardly grinned amidst the female players’ verbal beatdown, while revealing a rueful smile.

“Cough, it’s fine! I’ll be more careful next time! This great Lord Meryer doesn’t mind a little dust on my meal, but… did you put some honey on the meat?”

“Yes, there will be plenty for you to enjoy!”

As if on cue, some players pushed a cart filled with roasted meat over.

Then, Ji Gang saw the dragon’s eyes light up upon seeing it, like a husky that had just been given a treat by its owner. The dragon immediately pounced on the meat, savoring it hungrily afterward…

Meanwhile, the experienced players seized the moment as the dragon dined, and approached its side. One of them utilized a sizable steel brush to gently stroke the dragon’s back, while the rest joyfully collected gleaming triangular scales from the ground.

Those were the scales Meryer had shed.

Some players even directly plucked scales from the Blacl Dragon’s body, collecting each shiny scale for themselves…

Ji Gang: “….”

His eyes widened in disbelief.

Were these players… really so audacious?

Of course, what he didn’t know was that Meryer had currently entered a new stage of growth.

During this whole period, the young dragon’s body would rapidly grow, increasing its size by several folds. Old scales would gradually fall off, while being replaced by a new, larger, and even more tougher scales!

However, only Little Salty Cat and these two skilled barbecue enthusiasts from the northeastern region would ever dare to touch Meryer’s scales, as the dragon would typically overlook their actions.

After all, they were the ones whom usually made his meals.

Little Salty Cat could provide an endless supply of top-quality monster meat, and the two male players were quite exceptional at barbecuing meats. They were akin to Meryer’s very own most satisfactory attendants!

Moreover, since the shed scales had no practical value (for Meryer,) they were essentially offered as rewards.

“Oh, by the way, Meryer, this newbie here wants to receive one of your task. You should give it him later on after you’ve fully eaten.”

Little Salty Cat happily stated whilst picking up scales on the ground like a farmer harvesting their crops.

“A New Chosen One? A laborer finally arrived?”

The Black Dragon turned his head, with his copper bell-like eyes fixated on Ji Gang.

“Uh… cough… Y-Yes, Lord Silver Dragon, I’m here for the animal husbandry task.”

Ji Gang coughed twice, then broke into an awkward smile…

Ji Gang smoothly received the task.

Following the task instructions, he arrived at a nearby forest near Black Dragon Castle and found a sizable breeding farm.

The farm housed over two hundred cows and sheep, along with a significant number of chickens and ducks.

“Why would the elven faction in the game have a breeding farm like this? Is it for food?”

Ji Gang pondered as he observed the farm, collecting fodder, processing feed, and feeding the livestock and poultry as instructed.

While feeding the animals, Ji Gang thought back to his encounter with the Black Dragon NPC.

“”Although I’ve already learned from watching game videos that the NPC system in ElvKing is quite impressive, I still didn’t expect the NPCs to behave so lifelike!”

“Conversations that flow naturally, lifelike expressions, and conplex emotions… they’re more than just NPCs; they’re almost like real people. They can communicate, interact, and even become friends with players!”

No wonder they say Elven Kingdom is like a second life. It truly lives up to its reputation, especially when paired with the incredible mind acceleration technology; it’s bound to become even more popular as more people enters the game.

Ji Gang sighed softly.

“I wonder… what are the main quests like? Watching the videos, the main storyline seemed so exciting, especially the grand battles with the Orcs. It’s incredibly thrilling… and the cutscenes featuring the goddess are fantastic as well.”

“I can’t wait! I really want to level up quickly!”

Thinking this, Ji Gang was filled with determination.

He wasn’t the only new player who selected this task.

After about an hour, he finally completed his part of the task and obtained his first experience and contribution points from Meryer since entering the game.

Of course, he still couldn’t use these CP’s just yet. Players had to first reach level 11 to officially unlock the exchange store.

This meant that until they reached level 11 and met the minimum level requirements for accessing the underground world and the Shadow Dungeon, new players would either need to join veteran players’ teams to quickly grind levels or simply stick to completing tasks.

During the early days of the server, there were plenty of low-level monsters suitable for new players near the safe zone.

However, unfortunately, apart from the Shadow Dungeon, most of the monsters in the Elven Forest didn’t respawn, and veteran players had already wiped out the creatures in these core areas.

Some game guides mentioned that there were many presence of numerous monsters in the northern part of the forest, yet these uncharted regions were notably hazardous. Even seasoned players were susceptible to encountering difficulties within these unexplored territories, let alone newcomers like him.

So, for ordinary new players, before they reached level 11 and met the minimum level requirements for the underground map and the Shadow Dungeon, their main source of leveling up EXP was through completing daily tasks.

Luckily, the experience rewards from tasks in Elfven Kingdom were quite substantial compared to other games. Just a single feeding task had allowed Ji Gang to reach level 2 smoothly.

However, the daily tasks in Elven Kingdom were different from what he imagined…

Many daily tasks lacked much storyline, merely involving performing various laborious tasks that were quite demanding in terms of effort and energy. Tasks like feeding livestock, collecting wood, transporting goods, moving bricks, and so on…

Having completed the [Feed the Livestock] task, Ji Gang is now walking towards one of the crop fields near the Chosen City after taking on another task which is a planting task.

As he held the seeds in his hand, he fell into a deep thought…

“….Why do I feel like I’m doing mundane manual labor inside a game?”

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