"A house, huh..."
Kang Oh was locked in thought. Come to think of it, there wasn't a space to rest inside the laboratory.
All of the buildings were either research facilities or designed to oversee the artificial life forms.
That didn't make any sense.
In Arth, characters had their own life and personality. Kudal was one of these NPCs, so he must've had his own life as well.
But the buildings here only pertained to his 'work', not his 'life' or 'rest'.
"Not only that, but Kudal loved his wife dearly. Yet there are almost no items, memories, or pictures of his wife. There's the Renji Flower at best," Eder said.
The reason that there wasn't anything here regarding her was...
"They must've had a separate space for themselves. That private area must be 'Kudal's house'," Kang Oh said.
"It's quite likely."
Eder nodded his head.
"Where do you think his house would be?"
"I'm not sure."
"Well, it's definitely not here."
If it were hidden somewhere here, then he would've been able to find it.
Eder recalled what he'd read about Kudal. Unfortunately, the books hadn't said anything about his house.
It was the same for Kang Oh as well.
"Let's return to Myron. We need some more information."
Myron was the city where Kudal was born. There must be some clue there that should help them find Kudal's house.
"Yes, that sounds like a good idea."
* * *
There were bronze statues that paid tribute to the great alchemist, Kudal, throughout the city of Myron.
Of course, they had erected bronze statues of other great alchemists throughout the city as well.
There were stores that lined the streets that bought and sold all kinds of materials, which reminded him of people selling medicine.
He could see large medicine stores that sold large quantities of liquid medicine as well.
Kang Oh and Eder were passing through such a road.
"There are two good places to gather information. The Myron Library and Alchemist Guild," Kang Oh said.
"Should we investigate separately?"
"Yeah, that'd be best. I'll go to the Alchemist Guild."
Kang Oh preferred actually meeting and talking to people rather than slumping over and reading a book in the library.
"Then I'll head to the Myron Library."
"Alright. If you find something, then come over immediately. If I find something, I'll summon you right away."
The two parted ways.
Kang Oh headed straight for the Alchemist Guild.
The Myron Alchemist Guild was the guild's main headquarters, so the place was huge.
Perhaps that explained why the place was teeming with players and NPCs.
"If you want to become an Alchemist, then gather these materials."
A player who seemed new accepted the quest and left the guild.
"Please show me an alchemical grimoire."
It seemed like this player, who was carrying an alchemical pot, was trying to learn new alchemical abilities.
Kang Oh wondered how he'd be able to gather information amidst this crowd.
He couldn't just grab someone out of the crowd and ask them about Kudal's house like an idiot.
That would just scream, 'Hey, I'm looking for something.'. It would run the risk of drawing attention to him.
Kang Oh looked around. He didn't see anyone who could provide him with the information he was looking for, so he went up a floor.
The second floor was quieter than the first. Kang Oh looked around once more.
There was an old man sitting in a chair.
The old man was wearing a white gown, which was smeared with various chemicals.
'It's an NPC Alchemist.'
Kang Oh approached the old man.
Kang Oh smiled politely.
"Mm. I've never seen your face here before."
The old man scanned his face.
"Yes. I came here just a few days ago."
"Is that so? So what did you want from me?"
"I just want to learn about the city. Ah, and also..."
Once he was finished, Kang Oh took out the Renji Flower from his inventory.
"Please take this. This is a small token of my appreciation."
There were two reasons he was giving the old man the flower.
First, it was, as he said, a token of his appreciation. Secondly, he wanted to draw the topic of conversation to Kudal.
The old man accepted the flower.
"Hmm. It's a Renji Flower. When I was young, I said I would create an elixir of love... I used it quite often."
The old man looked at the flower, seemingly reminiscing of the past.
"An elixir of love? Does this flower have some sort of special property or something?"
"It's said that the Alchemist Kudal realized his love through this flower, so I tried to do the same."
"Didn't Kudal name the flower after his wife and use it to propose, not use it to create an elixir of love?"
Kang Oh told back the story that Eder had told him.
"Hmph. That doesn't make any sense! Kudal was a poor and unattractive alchemist, and his wife was the only daughter of an incredibly wealthy man. If you think about it, there's no way that the two would ever get together. They got together despite that, which means that Kudal must have created an elixir of love, one that only appears in legend, and made her drink it. One of the major ingredients of the elixir must be the Renji Flower," the old man said fiercely, seemingly angry.
"So you're saying that... him giving her the elixir of love was changed to him proposing to her with the Renji Flower?"
"Indeed. Common knowledge and facts always get distorted over time."
Kang Oh narrowed his eyes.
'It seems like the old man's the one distorting the facts.'
The old man was actually the one ignoring the facts and making up his own story.
But he continued to listen carefully nonetheless.
'A poor young man and a rich daughter...'
It must have cost a fortune to create his laboratory atop the Marron Mountains.
Where would that money have come from?
It must've come from being the son-in-law to a wealthy family. If that's the case, then wouldn't his wife have bought him his house too?
'If I ask about his wife, then I might get some clues...'
"You said that Renji was the only daughter of a wealthy man?"
"Does her house still exist?" Kang Oh asked.
"Hmm. I'm not sure, but I do know her full name: Renji Ishmael. If you want to know more about the Ishmael family, then go to city hall."
[You have heard a crucial clue to finding Kudal's house.]
Kang Oh grinned at the system message. He'd definitely asked the right question.
"Understood. I enjoyed our talk. I'll get going now."
Kang Oh wanted to go to Myron City Hall immediately. He should be able to get the information he needed there.
The old man just waved him off.
Kang Oh quickly left the Alchemist Guild.
* * *
"Is this it?"
Kang Oh arrived in front of Myron City Hall. It looked like a newly constructed building due to how clean the outside was.
"I don't need to call Eder yet."
He would leave Eder to his books and figure out where the Ishmael family house was by himself.
"Mr. Kang Oh!"
He suddenly heard someone call for him. Kang Oh turned around and saw Eder running towards him.
"Eder. Did you find something?"
The two of them were connected. Eder could locate Kang Oh at any time, any place, and the same applied to Kang Oh’s summoning of Eder as well; he could summon Eder whenever he wanted.
"No. I found an important clue in the Myron Library and came here to check if it was true or not... Then I ran into you."
"Is that important clue of yours the Ishmael family?"
"Huh? You already know. Then you too?"
"Yeah. Me too."
"Wow, how did you know?"
"What about you?"
"As I was looking through the books, I found a diary that said all sorts of bad things about Kudal. It was a diary written by a man who had an unrequited love for Renji... Anyway, it said that Kudal approached the Ishmael family for their money. Then, when I looked up the Ishmael family, I found out that they were incredibly rich, whereas Kudal was a young and poor alchemist. So I had a hunch!"
Kang Oh nodded his head.
"How about you, Mr. Kang Oh?"
He cut off the part where he asked 'How did you know about the Ishmael family?'.
"Mm. I heard it from a certain old man. That Renji was the only daughter of a wealthy man, so I had a hunch too."
"As I thought."
Eder gave him a thumbs up.
"Let's hurry up and figure out where the Ishmael family's estate is."
Kang Oh and Eder entered Myron City Hall.
A short while later...
They came out the door from whence they came.
Kang Oh and Eder's faces were bright, as they'd obtained the information they had been looking for.
They headed for the Ishmael family's mansion without delay.
* * *
There was a forest to the north of Myron, and within this forest lay the Ishmael family's mansion.
"It seems like this is it," Eder said as he looked at the mansion in front of him.
"Yeah, but as I thought... It's deserted," Kang Oh said.
The Ishmael family's mansion was completely deserted. One side of the ceiling had completely collapsed and all of the windows were broken.
'I guess this is how you'd expect it to look...'
Kang Oh had procured information on the Ishmael family from city hall.
At the time of Renji’s marriage to Kudal, she had been the sole inheritor of the Ishmael fortune.
However, she died without being able to produce an heir, and at some point, Kudal went missing too, so the Ishmael family was left to ruin.
The Ismael family's mansion was obviously ownerless, and as time passed, it had become completely deserted.
"Let's go take a closer look."
Kang Oh and Eder approached the mansion. The closer they got, the worse it looked.
Then, two players came out from a corner of the mansion.
"What is this place?"
"Let's go in."
The two players passed Kang Oh and Eder, and then entered through the halfway opened front gate.
"How should we proceed?" Eder asked.
"Let's go in too and check things out, but don't show any signs if you find something."
Kang Oh and Eder also entered the deserted mansion, looking at ease as if they were tourists.
"It looks like Kudal did live here."
Eder pointed to one side of the wall. There were two portraits there.
On one, there was a young and pale man, and on the other, there was a woman with a beautiful smile.
They were portraits of Kudal and Renji.
This was definitely 'Kudal's house' that they'd been looking for.
'Now we just need to find the secret area.'
Kang Oh's eyes gleamed.
At that moment, he saw the players that had gone in before them.
"There's nothing here, right?"
"Yeah. If there was something here, then the others would've found something already."
"Let's go already."
The two players headed for the door.
Kang Oh and Eder followed the two from afar, and made sure that they left the mansion.
"Yeah. Let's search this place for real now."
"Yes, sir!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter