Translator: SaltyTank  Editor: SaltyTank

Soran received 3,050 Slaughter EXP from the previous battle. Each gnoll warrior was worth roughly 300 Slaughter EXP; considering that all the kobolds he’d killed only gave him a total of 900 EXP, the gnolls were quite the delicious prey. Of course, they were also harder to deal with. He had used quite a bit of wyvern poison in the battle, and the remaining poison would only be sufficient for one more battle.

The dead gnolls did not carry anything worth mentioning; no one would buy such poorly made weapons and armor. Soran rested for a while before heading to the gnoll settlement. After spending so much effort killing the gnolls, there was no chance he would let the opportunity to loot the settlement slip by.

As expected, the gnolls that had escaped earlier did not return to their base; they would roam in the wilderness until they got accepted into other tribes.

The horrendous stench of rotten flesh and blood filled the now empty settlement. The bones and corpses of beasts, monsters, and humans were scattered around. Soran could see what seemed to be human skins hanging on logs; the gnolls probably skinned the human corpses for making leather. There were also signs indicating that the gnolls had set up a bonfire before, but currently it was just a pile of twigs and branches.

The gnolls organised their items poorly. They were all over the place, and most of them had blood stains. Soran noticed a pile of man-made weapons that were most likely obtained by killing humans, but he left them alone as the quality of the weapons was mediocre. Instead, he searched through the corpses of what seemed to have been merchants; the goods did not seem to be worth much, but he managed to gather a hundred Gold Derahls and two pieces of amber from the bodies.

Surprisingly, the gnolls had fewer valuables than the kobold sorcerer. There were goods and weapons in the settlement, but they were too heavy and large for him to bring back to the city. They were mostly daily necessities that should be useful to the stockaded villages nearby, but it would be up to them to transport the goods back if they wanted to; Soran would only let them know what he’d found and where.

Slightly disappointed, Soran tossed the coins and the two pieces of amber into his multi-dimensional bag and was about to leave when he noticed a glittering light.

“Eh?” He carefully pried open a stone slab, revealing a gem.

“Holy shit.” Soran could not help but swear as he picked up the gem and looked at it under the sunlight. “Damn, those pesky monsters really know how to hide their stuff.”

It was a pink diamond ore the size of his thumb. If not for the glint he saw right before leaving, he might have left behind such a valuable item. Some merchants preferred keeping diamond ores, as they were less eye-catching as compared to a clunky bag of Gold Derahls. Diamond ores were easy to carry and hide, and they could also be sold easily in cities. They were popular among nobles and some wizards, thus there would be no shortage of people who were willing to buy such ores.

“I guess this is worth 500 to 600 Gold Derahls?” he muttered to himself.

Soran was not knowledgeable when it came to diamonds and minerals, but he still knew that they were by no means cheap. Normal diamonds could be sold for around 200 to 300 Gold Derahls, and pink diamonds were twice that price. The polished diamond would be smaller than the ore in his hand, but it should be worth 500 Gold Derahls at the very least. His face lit up with glee as he joyfully stowed the diamond ore away.

Even though he’d collected some valuables from the dwarves, he did not really want to convert the items to cash. Rings of Wizardry were rare, thus Soran was more inclined to keep that for Vivian, or perhaps himself if he multiprofessioned in Wizard. It was an expensive piece of equipment which could save his life. The same went for the scroll; although he was currently unable to use it, it was still better to keep it, because scrolls were difficult and costly to make. The materials may cost several hundreds of Gold Derahls, not to mention that the success rate of creating scrolls was not one hundred percent.

Excluding the items looted from the dwarves, Soran’s profit from the expedition was barely enough for him to purchase one or two Rare-grade equipment. Even then, it would only cover the lower quality ones, of course. Good Rare-grade equipment would cost a fortune.

Soran searched around once more to make sure he’d gotten everything, then quickly left the gnoll settlement. It was getting slightly late; it was best to head back to the stockaded village if he wanted to return by nightfall. He would rest there for the night, then head to the place where the villagers reported ogre sightings the next day. As much as Soran wanted to earn EXP, he would just leave them be and report back if the ogres were too strong; he did not like fighting battles which could not be won.

Ogres were more dangerous than gnolls. They had a Monster Level of 5 and a Challenge Rating of 6, and they often appeared in groups of three to five. Most of them also had professions; the majority of them were warriors, but there were also ogre sorcerers and wizards. If a tribe’s religion was totemism, there might even be ogre shamans. They were basically a variant of priests that worshipped totems instead of deities. As ogre shamans were influential ogres with high social status, they rarely appeared in the wilderness; they mostly stayed in settlements in their territory.

Ogres’ main forte lay in their Strength: adult ogres had at least 18 Strength, with some of them having over 20. It allowed them to use hundred-pound weapons as if they were twigs. Considering Soran’s current attributes, he would be half-dead after receiving a single strike from them. Their weakness, though, was very favourable to Soran; ogres tended to have sluggish movements and low attack speeds. If there were just a few of them, Soran could deal with them using his agility.

Under normal circumstances, adventurers would rather fight a large pack of gnolls over a small group of ogres. As ogres used blunt weapons and had great Strength, even warriors who pursued the path of defence and tanking would find it hard to receive a blow from the ogres and remain unscathed. Full-plate armor and shields could stop the attacks, but they could not stop the resulting shockwave from shattering a bone or two. This was why monsters with high Strength often had higher Challenge Ratings, more so for gigantic creatures.

Soran understood how brutal attacks from enemies with such high Strength could be. Back in the game, a mountain giant had dislocated and fractured his shoulder even when the strike barely grazed him. He’d had to spend all his savings to get a priest to heal him. He’d eventually gone back and killed the mountain giant as revenge.

Just as Soran reached the village, he noticed that something was off. Militia were stationed near the entrance, and torches were lit everywhere in the village. The archers stationed on the watchtowers drew their bows and aimed at Soran, then let out sighs of relief and lowered their weapons after realizing his identity.

“What’s going on?” Soran entered the village and asked, “Did something happen?”

The militia captain had a grave expression as he approached Soran and replied, “Lizardmen! The lizardmen from the swamp invaded our territory and attacked our patrol squad.

“Two of them died, and five of them got injured.”

After hearing what had happened, Soran had a serious look on his place.

“How many men do you have? Don’t count the normal villagers. Just the trained combatants.”

The captain hesitated slightly before replying, “We have thirty more. However, we have plenty of strong young men also. They can fight as long as they have weapons.”

“That is insufficient.” Soran frowned and said, “You can’t take on the lizardmen with such numbers. I suggest that you all start packing up and move the entire village somewhere else.”