Bringserna was one of Arth's 10 largest cities. It was renowned for its Jewelry Street, which was lined with stores that sold beautiful, expensive jewelry and accessories.
Countless swans swam through the Swaven Lake here, and the Master Chef, Torre, also ran his restaurant within this city.
There was also a giant palace in the middle of the city. Magnificent and ostentatious were perfect words to describe it. However, the palace had a frightening and tragic story.
There was once an architect called Velin. He was gifted, but he was so upright and poor that he lived a sad life.
One day, the corrupt lord of Bringserna came looking for him, and ordered him to construct a palace. His land was suffering a severe drought, so the people were starving. Even so, he forced excessive taxes onto them, and used those funds to build a palace.
Velin knew of the lord's evil, so he firmly refused, saying 'I won't build anything for the likes of you.'.
The lord, enraged, imprisoned Velin and his family. He then threatened his family, stating that he'd kill them if he didn't build the palace.
Velin remained adamant. But when he saw his youngest son's finger being sliced off, he had no choice but to build the palace.
The palace was supremely beautiful, majestic, and large.
On the day that it was completed...
Velin asked that his family be released, but the lord returned to him the rotting corpses of his family instead! That was the price of his disobedience, or so he said.
The poor man wailed and furiously rushed at the lord. However, the lord's guards killed the unfortunate genius.
He held a grand party to celebrate the completion of the palace. The lord, his family, and his sycophants were in attendance.
At exactly midnight, a horrific cry rang out, and evil spirits flew through the floor, the walls, and the ceiling, and began killing everyone there.
It was said that Velin and his family were amongst them.
Everyone in attendance was killed. The lord's eyes were dug out, his tongue was sliced off, and he was ripped to pieces. His entire family died in pain, and all of the lord's sycophants died gruesome deaths as well.
Velin was actually a Master Architect, one who'd learned the arcane skill, 'Create Dungeon'. The palace he'd created was actually a dungeon!
Thus, the giant palace at the heart of Bringserna was called Velin's Palace.
Time passed by, and the people revolted against the Altein Empire. Bringserna became a free city, and its city hall began managing Velin's Palace.
It wasn't as amazing as it sounded; they merely kept people from entering the dungeon without permission. If you wanted to enter Velin's Palace, then you needed a quest from Bringserna's Adventurer Guild and a ticket.
Of course, they didn't give the quest to just anyone. After all, Velin's Palace was extremely dangerous. There were two criteria for the quest: you either needed a high adventurer rank, or you needed to be guaranteed by someone of high status.
"Here." Kang Oh had come to Bringserna's Adventurer Guild. Once there, he passed a woman a slice of paper.
Jayce had written him a letter of recommendation. Kang Oh had told him he wanted to explore Velin's Palace, and Jayce had been more than willing to recommend him.
In the letter, Jayce vouched for Kang Oh, stating that his skills were the real deal!
"Is Mr. Jayce doing well?" the middle-aged woman with flecks of gray in her hair said.
"He's doing really well."
"If Mr. Jayce has vouched for you, then that's good enough for me. Eradicate the evil spirits in Velin's Palace."
Kang Oh received the quest, 'Exterminate the Evil Spirits in Velin's Palace', and immediately accepted it.
"This is your ticket." The middle-aged woman passed him a piece of scrunched up yellow paper.
[Velin's Palace Ticket]
Show this ticket to the guards, and you may enter Velin's Palace.
Kang Oh left the Adventurer Guild. His party was out there waiting for him. In other words, Soren, Karin, Darion, and Eder!
"Did you get it?" the pony-tailed Karin asked.
Kang Oh waved the dried up paper.
"Wow. I've always wanted to go to Velin's Palace. I guess today's the day." Karin beamed.
The girl with braided hair, Soren, remained silent, but she looked really excited.
Kang Oh's party headed straight for Velin's Palace.
* * *
In front of the majestic, grand palace.
"Halt." A heavy-armed guard held his palm out.
"Here." Kang Oh passed him his ticket.
"You can go in."
They passed through the front gate and garden, and found themselves in front of a giant, ornately decorated gate. Then, the doors opened by themselves, as if welcoming Kang Oh's party in.
[Entering the dungeon, Velin's Palace.]
The inside was just as flashy as the outside.
Chandeliers hung from the ceiling, emitting radiant light, and silver candlesticks hung from the walls. Red silk curtains covered the windows, and the ground was covered in tiger fur.
However, they couldn't get absorbed by the magnificence of the building. This was still a dungeon, which meant that danger lurked in every corner.
"They're coming!" Kang Oh yelled.
Various spirits flew out of the ground, ceiling, and walls.
They were wrapped in black bandages like black mummies. At the same time, their bodies were transparent, causing the background to show through them.
This was the most common evil spirit in Velin's Palace, Cereb. It was around level 400.
Then there was the Noblewoman Ghost, Corna. Her hair was stretched upwards, and she wore a black dress. She too was around level 400.
They encountered Critters too, ghosts that were basically giant spheres with mouths. Like the previous two, they were around level 400.
'Eight of them?'
There were three Cerebs and Cornas, and two Critters.
'Nice.' Kang Oh smirked.
Velin's Palace was filled with high level evil spirits, so it'd be perfect practice for the team.
"Darion, protect Eder. Soren and Karin, stick with me," Kang Oh drew Demon Sword Ubist and yelled.
The surrounding evil spirits flew towards them.
Battle had begun!
* * *
Soren and Karin were quite well-known amongst the player base. There were several reasons for that, but the biggest reason was that their magic was unique.
"...Crush them, the invisible law of power!" Soren raised her staff into the air. A sphere, like a mirror ball, floated from the tip of her staff. The sphere began to spin and radiate dim light.
A Cereb came at her, but was suddenly flattened. It was as though an invisible object had crushed it.
'As expected of the Gravity Witch.'
The Gravity Witch, Soren! She possessed a mage-type hidden class, which allowed her to manipulate gravity!
However, the evil spirit wasn't to be underestimated. The Cereb escaped from the gravity trap and rushed at her.
"Not a chance." Kang Oh stepped forward, stopping Cereb in its tracks.
The Cereb transformed its arms into drills and crazily stabbed Kang Oh.
Continuous Thrust of Resentment!
'You're done.' Kang Oh swung his blade horizontally. Ubist's special ability, Abyss Blade, allowed him to cut through the immaterial, which included ghosts and spirits!
His jet-black blade cleaved through its drills, exploding with shards of red light.
It looked at its arms, which had been sliced like bamboo stalks, and seemed to lose its will to fight. It attacked no more, and merely rose into the air.
He wanted to finish it off, but another Cereb and Corna were just waiting for an opportunity to strike, so he couldn't act rashly.
Karin finished casting her spell. "...Desert warriors, it's time to go to work!"
The bells on her staff jingled beautifully.
Summon Sand Warrior!
She had summoned three Sand Warriors nearby.
The Desert Fairy, Karin!
Kingdoms still existed in the eastern desert region, and these kingdoms had formed their own system of magic.
Insect Mages and Sand Mages!
Karin was a latter; she was capable of manipulating sand.
Her Sand Warriors swung their blades at the evil spirits. However, the enemies they faced weren't ordinary monsters. They were all powerful level 400 vengeful spirits!
The Cereb transformed its arms into drills and mutilated the Sand Warriors. Meanwhile, a Critter opened its mouth wide and ate a Desert Warrior in a single go.
Black energy arose from Crona's hands, dyeing a Desert Warrior black.
The Desert Warrior had become Crona's pawn. This was her specialty. If a player was reckless, even for an instant, then she could control them like a puppet.
Her lips quivered. Then, the blackened Desert Warrior rushed at its previous master, Karin.
"Soren!" Karin stared at her sister. Once their eyes met, Soren slightly nodded her head.
"The power of tightly bound sand!" Karin cast a spell.
Her bell staff created a giant sand fist, which she then shot at the blackened Sand Warrior.
"Gateway that holds the world's mysteries!" Soren cast a spell of her own. An oval-shaped ring appeared between the blackened Sand Warrior and Karin's sand fist.
Upon contact with the ring, the sand fist became much faster. It was at least twice as fast as before!
It would null the air resistance of any object that flew through it, which increased the object's speed.
The sand fist flew as if it had rocket boosters attached to it; as if plowing through the Desert Warrior wasn't enough, it struck Crona too.
Huge shards of light burst from Crona's body.
A Critter, which had been waiting for its moment to strike, opened its mouth wide.
The Critter began to suck in everything nearby like a vacuum.
"Shut your mouth!" The cool-headed Soren swung her staff.
It was like a giant, invisible stamp had flattened it. The pressure forced it to close its mouth, and it quickly attempted to escape.
Once it escaped, a crescent moon shaped sand wave came flying at it.
The Sand Blade passed through the Critter.
'As expected, they work well together.'
While fighting off the evil spirits, Kang Oh had been keeping a close eye on the twins. Their skills met his expectations. When he faced off against Galmoss, they wouldn't get in his way.
'How about them?'
Kang Oh cleaved through a Cereb, and then turned his head to the side. Darion and Eder were in that direction.
* * *
Turn back the clock...
When the battle had just begun.
A bag hung from his side, and he wore leather clothes that were easy to move in. There was a staff that was about 1/4 the size of a normal one stuck to his belt.
Darion's clothes were more practical. Vital areas like his heart, genitals, etc. were covered by metal, and his knees or sides were covered in leather or chainmail, allowing for greater mobility without sacrificing defense.
But for some reason, three gladiuses hung from his belt.
"Please take this." Eder pulled out medicine that looked a lot like candy.
"It's a drug that increases your physical abilities."
"Thank you." Darion swallowed it down, and he felt like his body was overflowing with power. If he was a player, then he would've gotten a system message like this.
[You have eaten Eder's Energy Egg.]
[Stamina and HP regenerate more quickly.]
[Remaining time: 10 minutes]
Eder ate a blue egg, which increased one's magical abilities instead. Then, he pulled the short staff from his belt. A silver skull adorned the tip of the staff.
"Now then, shall we begin?"
His heart pounded; this was his first battle since he'd reclaimed his original body. Perhaps this wasn't anxiety, but excitement?
"Yes." Darion drew his red bladed gladius. 'I'm counting on you, bud.' Darion slightly shook the blade.
Black evil spirits came rushing at him.Previous Chapter Next Chapter