Chapter 85 – Secret Compartment
The crossbow bolt arced through the air and struck the nearest Skeleton Executioner directly in the chest. After being suddenly attacked, it let out a furious roar and charged toward Forgotten.
The roar also alerted the surrounding Skeleton Executioners, who stampeded toward Forgotten in a large mob.
“Crap, they’re all coming over!”
Seeing this, Forgotten immediately turned tail and leaped over the pile of rocks, fleeing for his life. After all, who would dare stay still when faced with such a terrifying sight.
Yet this was only the beginning. They had been tasked with keeping these Skeleton Executioners distracted for at least half a minute, which meant their job was far from over.
Nie Yan watched from the sidelines as the Skeleton Executioners stampeded toward the northeast. As their silhouettes grew distant, the plaza was soon emptied of their presence; thus, Nie Yan brought Dark Gladiator and the rest of his undead toward the pyramid’s entrance.
「Boom! Boom! Boom!」Thunderous noises reverberated from northeast of the plaza as the mob of Skeleton Executioners wreaked havoc upon the remaining ruins, causing the walls to topple over and collapse. In addition, volleys of magic could periodically be seen flying through the air, raining down upon the mob.
The spells were coming from Young Seven and the others, who, for the sake of stalling for time, didn’t hesitate to attack the group despite being well aware of the risks.
It appeared these players were quite earnest in helping him out. If they truly did end up helping him retrieve the fragment of Sulgata’s Shadow, then not only would he honour the favour he owed them, he would also gift them the Gold-grade shoulder guards regardless of their prior refusal. Even in games, if a person gave their word, then they should keep it. It was by far the simplest way to get along with others. And getting along with others was essential to establishing a large network of contacts. When one encountered a situation and required assistance, it became more convenient to find help.
「System: Player Round Stool has died.」
As he glanced at the party window, Nie Yan saw the highlighted text of a player’s name turn dark. This meant a member from Young Seven’s group had been killed. Aggroing these Skeleton Executioners was a dangerous task; it came as no surprise that one or two players would end up dying.
As the battle in the northeast raged on, Nie Yan became ever more concerned about how much longer they could hold out for. At this point, however, all he could do was hope for the best as he accelerated his pace towards the pyramid.
Bringing the Skeleton Mages along would be much too cumbersome. Thus, before he and Dark Gladiator moved towards the pyramid, he ordered them to farm monsters in the surrounding area and left them to their own devices. He and Dark Gladiator dashed through the plaza and safely arrived at the pyramid’s entrance.
The entrance, which appeared to be two solid metal gates carved with ancient, intricate designs, wasn’t all that large. Though, through the passing of the ages, their beauty had long since faded, giving way to rust and the dilapidation of time.
「I’ve already entered the pyramid. Hurry up and leave,」Nie Yan said through the party’s voice channel. However, just as those words exited his mouth, another player’s name turned dark; a second member of Young Seven’s team had been killed. For the sake of aiding him, they had made sacrifices that couldn’t be considered negligible. Fortunately, they were able to retrieve the equipment that had dropped from those who died.
「Roger, we’ll be taking our leave then,」Young Seven replied. If they stayed any longer, it would be hard to predict what else might happen, so after receiving Nie Yan’s go-ahead, the remaining members immediately withdrew from the battle.
「Thanks for this, I’ll give you the equipment when I get back.」
「No problem, we’ll be in the area farming mobs for a bit before returning to town.」
After entering the pyramid, Nie Yan walked through a dark, long and narrow passageway along a flight of stairs. Relying on his past knowledge, he carefully avoided all the hidden traps along the path.
The hidden mechanisms in this passage were all extremely dangerous and would result in instant death for anyone unlucky enough to trigger them. Nie Yan was quite cautious as he advanced along the path, not daring to reveal the slightest degree of carelessness.
Fortunately, no matter what manner of trap appeared, none of them were new to him since he had encountered every single one in his previous life. Therefore, as long as he wasn’t careless, none of these traps would pose any threat to him.
Advancing down the path, an eerie chill that made his blood run cold seemed to come from the depths of the pyramid.
As Nie Yan reached the end of the passageway, he was met with a dead end. All that lay ahead was a large stagnant pool of water.
The way leading to the interior of the pyramid was underneath this pool!
Nie Yan dived into the water and swam towards the depths while Dark Gladiator followed from behind. As an undead, Dark Gladiator didn’t need to breathe. Thus, it wouldn’t matter how long it stayed submerged underwater.
It was a sealed underwater passage. In every direction, left and right, above and below, were smooth stone walls while the path ahead was dark and foreboding. The path was so dark it was nearly impossible to make anything out.
Nie Yan continued to swim ahead, though he wasn’t rushing at all, so if by any chance he encountered a monster while underwater, he’d have ample time to react.
Just at that moment, Nie Yan suddenly felt something peculiar about the stone wall to his left, and his heart leapt out in alarm. There was a hidden mechanism inside the wall!
He only had time to see two sharp, black arrowheads emerge from it.
「Whoosh! Whoosh!」Two arrows shot out, leaving a trail of bubbles behind them while flying directly at Nie Yan.
He did an underwater roll and leaned his head to the side, and almost immediately after, an arrow streaked past his cheek and left side. Just by a hair’s breadth, he had nearly been struck in the head and heart. Luckily though, he had a good reaction speed.
The two arrows merely ended up embedded on the opposite wall.
After this close call, he became even more cautious and prudent.
Proceeding further into the depths of the underwater passage, his eyes happened to glance over at a certain area on the wall to his right where he discovered peculiar scratch marks, other markings, and what appeared to be ancient characters above them.
In the previous timeline, very few players, if any at all, who arrived here would be able to recognize these characters scribbled on the wall. Nie Yan, on the other hand, recognized these marks and characters. They were the secret totemic marking of the Dragons, and as for the two eroded characters above…
They were also the language of the Dragons!
Since Nie Yan had learned the Dragon Tongue from the Annals of Shared Governance he was immediately able to recognize these characters.
Legends told that before city perished, the Lord of Sulgata secretly hid all his treasures somewhere inside the city. Believing these legends to be true, in his previous life, players searched every nook and cranny of the city, yet no one was able to find even a hint of their whereabouts.
The Dragons believed in destruction, exercising their faith in flame and incineration which desired the eradication of everything in existence. It was certain the totemic marking on the wall possessed a unique origin!
Upon feeling a sense of suffocation suddenly come from his chest, he realized that he seemed to be running out of breath, so in response, he activated the underwater breathing ability of the Water Aversion Pearl and began searching around the wall. However, excluding a few minute cracks, it was as smooth as a mirror, and he couldn’t find any peculiarities whatsoever.
Could I just be overthinking things?
He was convinced the Dragon totemic markings appearing in this location wasn’t a simple matter.
Paying heed to his conviction, he expanded the range of his search and reached his hands into a nook beneath the wall.
There, his hands happened to pass over five cavities roughly the size of a fingerprint. These five cavities were so faint that they were extremely easy to miss if one passed over them carelessly.
Perhaps, a secret lay in these five cavities.
He placed the fingers on his right hand over the cavities, and as he slowly exerted pressure over them, they began sinking inward.
「Rumble! Rumble!」 A slab of stone an arm’s length away from him slowly protruded outward.
There was a secret compartment inside this wall! The activating mechanism to this compartment was extremely well hidden. Unless someone searched for a lengthy period of time, they would have no hopes of discovering it.
Although he didn’t know if any players discovered the totemic markings in his previous life, he definitely never heard of anyone finding this hidden compartment.