Chapter 155 – Find the Ruins (2)
[You've found a ruin.]
[You've acquired the Title 'Ruin Excavator'.]
[Please find the out-of-place Artifact within the Ruins.]
This was the System Announcement he had been impatiently waiting for. Instead of a joyous shout, Hyrkan's shoulders sagged as he let out a heavy sigh.
‘This bastard really….’
Hyrkan's gaze naturally turned towards the cause of his sigh. It immediately headed towards the corpse of the Golden Goblin., but his gaze didn't stop there. It continued to move to land on the Skeleton Warrior, which was standing over the corpse in an imposing manner.
The Skeleton Warrior didn't avoid its owner's gaze. It's imposing figure was reminiscent of a hunting dog standing over its prey. It was as if it was waiting for a compliment from its master. This was why Hyrkan swallowed his anger.
‘Yes. I'm the one that taught them, so it is my fault. They are blameless in this. I'm the one to blame for teaching them too well.’
Hyrkan abruptly felt such a feeling. He really felt the truth that he had grown terrifying monsters.
‘If monsters like my Skeletons came out as opponents..... Uh-whew. Just the thought of it gives me nightmare.’
He once again thanked the stars that his Skeletons weren't an enemy he would have to face.
Of course, such sentiments didn't last long. This wasn't some significant milestone where he should get lost in sentimental feelings.
Hyrkan once again shook his head from side to side, and he shook off the unimportant feelings. Then he immediately looked forward. The eyes within the Hahoe Mask glazed over.
Some kind of a building was reflected in Hyrkan's eyes.
He use the expression 'some kind', because it was hard to judge the shape of the building.
First, the building was half-buried in the ground. The part that stuck out from the ground was reminiscent of an earthworm. It was hard to discern the shape of the building, since it was covered in tree roots. If one glanced at it, one might not even notice it was a building.
On the other hand, one could feel a mystical energy coming off of it even if it was faint.
The most eye-catching part of the building was the bricks that were giving off this mystical energy. Each brick was carved with various symbols. Instead of an engraving, it was embossed. The shapes stood out in relief, so the shapes were quite noticeable.
‘Is it a temple?’
His admiration ended there. The Skeleton Warrior, which had defeated the Golden Goblin, was returned to its Skeleton Fragment form. Then he entered the building. There was only one tunnel that lead inside. It was so small that he had mistaken it for a window, but he was able to squeeze his body into the space.
His shoulders were hunched and his head was lowered. He walked slowly like a turtle with his back hunched. Hyrkan was able to stretch out his back after ten steps. A deep darkness greeted Hyrkan when he straightened his back.
A bright light formed on top of Hyrkan's head.
Underneath the bright light, he re-equipped the glove he had taken off to activate the light app on his wristwatch. Hyrkan quickly looked at his surrounding as he put on his glove.
‘It is a temple.’
The outer appearance of the building was too damaged to confirm his suspicion, but the basic components were present.
He had seen the bricks before he entered the building, and each of them were embossed with letters. Moreover, there were pictures instead of wall papers within the building. Everything was carefully crafted to imbue symbolic significance, and this was why Hyrkan thought this place was a temple.
‘I hope something decent comes out.’
He was hopeful, but Hyrkan didn't think there were any treasures here in the temple that would make his eyes turn round.
The only thing he'll be able to find here would be clues.
Hyrkan scattered two Skeleton Fragments on the floor as he got ready to search for the clues.
The Skeleton Warriors quickly gained their forms, and their outer appearance was strikingly different from the standard Skeleton Warriors. It was less than 1 meter tall and they weren't wearing armors made out of steel. They were wearing leather armor that made them look agile. Moreover, the weapons they held in their hand were suited for their size. The swords were small enough to be called daggers. If a normal User held this weapon, it would look like a knife.
However, unlike their outer appearance, these Skeletons were terrifying.
These particular Skeleton Warriors were made from a level 180 monsters called Mini Ogre. Hyrkan had never summoned these Skeletons in public. He also didn't put them in his videos.
Weapon! This was a secret weapon that he had hidden away!
Hyrkan stationed the Skeletons near the entrance, and he started his search.
“In the end, this is a game.”
Hatch spoke as he looked at the remnants.... He looked at the walls that was being propped up by pillars and something that couldn't be seen.
“Since it is a game, there is always a solution. If there isn't a solution, it is a bug instead of a game.”
The Stormhunters guild had found a ruin.
The Stormhunters guild had took the most important first step in the Ruined Kingdom episode.
Of course, this was a momentous first step for the Stormhunters guild, but they didn't stop to appreciate the moment.
“We've found the entrance! It is an entrance to the underground!”
When the entrance to the underground was found, they once again moved at a desperate pace.
Hatch immediately started giving orders. Hatch looked at Hahui, and he pointed his finger towards the newly discovered entrance.
They had already formed an expedition group for such a situation. Hahui was chosen to be the leader of the expedition group.
Hatch's gesture meant for Hahui to get ready. Hahui soon finished her preparations. When she moved near the newly discovered entrance, the members of the exploration team started to gather around her.
There were a total of 12 Users. Hatch spoke to Hahui in front of the team.
There was a weird atmosphere that emanated from their short conversation. The other members of the expedition team tilted their heads in confusion.
'What the hell?'
'Could it be?'
There were puzzled expressions on their faces.
However, these expressions didn't last long.
“You stubbornly insisted on being the leader of the exploration team. I want you to do your work properly now that I made you the team leader.”
“If there is a problem, I want you to turn back. I don't want you to suddenly attack the enemy, because it annoys you.”
“Are you trying to lecture me right now?”
“Is isn't a lecture. I'm giving you an advice.”
The weird atmosphere disappeared in an instant. Hahui and Hatch spoke like their normal selves.
Everyone realized that they misread the strange atmosphere.
“You want to die?”
It was a phrase everyone heard the most from Hahui. Hatch suddenly stopped speaking at this point.
Usually, Hatch gave up on the conversation at this point, and he would gloss over the conversation.
However, it was different right now. If these were normal circumstances, he wouldn't have even given her the advice. The problem was the worst case scenario of suffering the Game Over. The normal Game Over penalty was steep, but it could be overcome.
However, it was different right now. If Hahui suffered a Game Over, it would take her 4 days to get back here assuming everything went smoothly.
Currently, the mess at the Voodook's tunnel meant it might take her 10 days to get back here instead of 4 days.
This was why Hatch gave another warning.
“Don't die. Just don't die. I don't care what you do, but don't die. Please don't die. All right?"
Instead of answering Hatch's words, Hahui smirked as she turned her back to him.
“The exploration team is going in!”
When Hahui's exploration teamed moved, Hatch didn't even have time for a break. He had to pick up another thread of conversation.
“Yes. Please speak.”
Shir immediately spoke to him.
“What do you think about the newly formed alliance?”
She immediately asked her question.
It was a sudden and out of the blue question. If one had just heard the question, it would be hard to discern the purpose behind the question.
However, Hatch immediately figured out the intent and purpose behind the question. He gave his opinion as if he had been waiting for this question.
"There is the V&V, Big Smiles and Wul-gahng. It is inevitable that they’ll team up together. I'm not sure about this, but there is a high probability that these three guilds formed an alliance with the Sweepers guild and the Blossoms guild. Of course, this is my personal hunch, and it is only an educated guess.”
“Are these five guilds the only ones that joined forces?”
Hatch scratched his head.
“On the surface, there doesn't seem to be any other movement. In the past great battle event, there were the guilds that sat out the event with the V&V guild. We'll have to assume those guilds are sympathetic to the V&V guilds, and they'll move in their favor if needed.”
“What do you think they are trying to do right now?”
“Their plan is obvious. They basically want to trample over everyone with superior numbers.”
Numerous conflicts and unrest occurred as the new stage called the Black Continent emerged.
The biggest and most recent mess was happening around Voodook's tunnel.
Several guilds of the 30 great guilds were sending a massive amount of members towards the Black Continent. Of course, there were so many people in queue that the wooden post was inadequate to post the list of the line.
There was a restriction on how many Users could go in at a fixed interval, and congestion inevitably occurred when high number of people gathered at this location. As the congestion grew, the discontent also grew.
“I believe the ruckus created in front of the Voodook's tunnel was planned.”
The mess was deliberately created to change the mind of the Users that planned on crossing the Urugal mountain range.
If they planned that far ahead, Hatch was able to sufficiently discern their motive.
“I'm sure of it. The five guilds have allied with each other, and they plan on monopolizing the Black Continent. This is obvious, but they'll start eliminating competitors once enough members cross over to the Black Continent.”
If they took advantage of the Voodook tunnel's special characteristic, it wasn't an impossible task.
Shir asked another question after she heard Hatch's explanation.
“Did these 5 guilds offer an alliance with us? Did they contact any of us?”
“No offers were given.”
“Basically, we are one of their enemies.”
“Yes. We might have to play it safe. It might get too scary to play this game.”
Play it safe....
Shir let out a sneer instead of a bitter smile. Hatch had the same expression on his face.
They weren't really going to play it safe. The sneer on their faces indicated the opposite.
Hyrkan's ruin exploration didn't take too long. In the first place, he couldn't really call it an exploration. The ruin he had found wasn't that large. Excluding the space he had entered in the beginning, he had searched exactly two more locations before his exploration came to an end.
After concluding his exploration, Hyrkan discovered the out-of-place artifact.
The out-of-place artifact he had found was a conch carved out of wood. It was pretty simple figuring out how to use the Item. Hyrkan put his ears against the opening of the Wooden Conch.
- We are requesting for help.
The Wooden Conch immediately let out a sound.
- Heard Fortress. The Dragon's army is coming towards the Heard Fortress.
The voice was filled with desperation.
- I'll say it again. The Heard Fortress is requesting for help. The Dragon's army is coming this way.
The voice within the Wooden Conch ended there. The sound was too disjointed, and it was hard to decipher the content unless one heard it again. However, Hyrkan didn't need to hear it again.
[Quest 'Remnant of the Heard Fortress' has started.]
There was a notification system that would be more informative than listening to the conch again.
When Hyrkan heard the System Announcement for the Quest, he immediately opened the Quest Window.
[Remnant of the Heard Fortress]
- Quest Rank : Rare
- Quest Level Range : 190
- Quest Content : Find the remnant of the Fortress mentioned by the out-of-place artifact.
- Quest Reward : None
‘The Quest Rank is Rare······.’
The Quest Content was light, but at the same time, it was familiar to Hyrkan.
‘I'm guessing the reward for this Quest will merely be a Transcendent Rank Ancient Power.’
This was why Hyrkan wasn't too worried about the content of the Quest. It was within his expectation.
The problem was the word Heard Fortress.
‘They changed the terminology.’
This was the first time Hyrkan had heard of the word.
The terminology that appeared in Warlord was controlled by the AI system, and it was able to make small changes as needed. Still, this knowledge wasn't able to erase the bitter taste from Hyrkan's mouth.
However, Hyrkan didn't frown at the bitter taste. Instead, a small smile formed on his mouth.
The Big Smiles guild had started it. The 5 guilds within the 30 great guilds tirelessly crossed the Urugal mountain range.
Of course, the process was very perilous. If twelve Users attempted it, around half would be forced back to the starting point.
The Skull Collector was trivial to the User wearing the Hahoe Mask, but it was a enemy that couldn't be beaten without skill and luck for the others Users.
The Users that were able to make the arduous climb over the Urugal mountain range were basically treasures to the guilds.
Of course, the Big Smiles guild wanted to protect their treasures, so they started their activities with the safety of guild members in mind.
The hunting of monsters were done in large groups. It was excessive even when one considered the monsters' level and quality. Moreover, one had get permission to use any of the consumables. These were Items that they had drank like water in the past.
They basically gave up doing tasks Users normally had to do in the game. They gave up on exploration and leveling up.
In such a situation, the Big Smiles guild was able to find a ruin. Luck was on their side.
“Heard fortress. Doesn't this seem like a really important Quest?”
The Big Smiles guild was able to learn an important clue about the Heard Fortress.
They were currently promoting safety over all else at that moment. It was inevitable, but a discussion arose regarding what they should do with this important clue.
“Isn't it obvious? We have to do that Quest.”
“Isn't it too dangerous? What if we all die? Do you realize how long the queue line is right now?”
“Even if it is dangerous, he have to take a risk of this size. We can't always stay put as we suck on our thumbs.”
“The most important thing is safety. Our main directive is to survive.”
“Since we are insisting on safety above all else, the discontent amongst the guild members have reached the boiling point. They aren't able to level up, and they can't earn money through hunts. Basically, they are wasting time by connecting into the game right now. We have to appease them. We have to carry out this Quest.”
“I guess we have no choice. So who'll carry it out? If we want to minimize the risk, should we sent our best team?”
“Should we send out our best team with the Killer at the core?”
“Wouldn't that be more dangerous? I'm sure it'll never happen, but if Sinclair somehow suffers a Game Over.... We don't have any information regarding this place, and it is teeming with monsters over level 200.”
“Let's form an exploration group. Let's send an exploration group first.”
They had basically found a treasure map that lead to a very valuable treasure.
However, they had no idea what risks they would be taking on when they approached this valuable treasure. Currently, someone had to attach a gas tank on their body. Someone had to throw their body into the unknown to see if it was a fire pit or a water pit.
The User, who had to hold the gas tank, needed to have symbolic rank, but he had to be someone they wouldn't miss at all.
This was why they chose him.
“You are the commander in charge of the Heard Fortress Quest, Apollo. Do a good job.”
This was why Apollo became the commander in charge of exploring the Heard Fortress.Previous Chapter Next Chapter