Chapter 99 - Cursed Domain (3)
A Weapon Werewolf was in three pieces as the corpse was broken and mangled on the ground.
The User, who had been looking at the corpse, whipped his head around. He spoke towards a Magician teammate.
“If you throw magic around like that next time, I'm going to declare a PK match against you.”
The conversation was too brusque and one-sided to call it a conversation between comrades. It was beyond a warning. He had basically delivered a threat. When Zeet received the warning, he immediately apologized instead of getting mad.
‘His temperament is entirely different from his appearance.’
In truth, it was a reaction that didn't match Zeet's personality. It wasn't as if Zeet's personality was dirty or ill-tempered. Still, he was more rowdy than he was quiet.
His personality had been the reason why he had gotten into a conflict with the Swing Guild. If Zeet had kept quiet when he had minor or emotional disagreements, he wouldn't have heard words like 'You better watch out next time you go for a hunt, you son of a bitch!'
However, Zeet had killed his temper for now, and he was deferring to his new partner. The reason was simple.
‘……his skills are killer.’
His current partner was incredibly skilled.
Truthfully, Zeet was having a hard time believing his current situation.
If he was a normal User, he wouldn't have even offered up a 'I'm sorry'. He would have just turned his head away, but he needed to show sincere concern for this particular partner.
In truth, Zeet had thought his partner was in the category of the unskilled Users. The skilled Users weren’t usually interested in what he had to offer. This User seemed to operating on his own, so Zeet thought the User was like a roaming duckweed. He thought this User was like him.
How could Zeet have guessed that this User was so skilled?
“There is one more coming. I'll block it. When it turns it back to you, you should immediately use your magic.”
Zeet was able to move around much faster as he searched for the Blackened Remains. It was thanks to his skilled partner.
“Be sure of yourself when you throw it. Your timing will be way off if you hesitate like that.”
“I know. I'm sorry. It was a mistake.”
Of course, a skilled partner would require others to be at their best, but it was something Zeet was willing to put up with.
“If the Quest is completed and the Block Field isn't dispelled, your life...”
“What? What did you just say?”
“Ah, this is just me talking to myself. I'm just talking to myself.”
“Wasn't your words too clear for it to be you talking to yourself?”
“So are you saying you want to hold a grudge against me?”
“Ah, no. Ah! It's the werewolf! I'll start my Casting!”
Sometimes his more skilled partner would joke around. His words were frightening, but Zeet was sure they were jokes. At the very least, Zeet decided to think of it like that.
‘He's probably joking. If he wasn't joking....’
Zeet briefly shuddered as he saw his partner run at the Weapon Werewolf to block it. This was how excellent his partner's skills was. He was so skilled that Zeet had never seen his partner use his Skills even once.
He wasn't using his Skills, yet he was sufficiently skilled enough to fight off a Weapon Werewolf. This mean his partner was an incredible expert. If one was over level 150 equipped with Unique Items, one could crush a Weapon Werewolf through one's Spec.
Anyways, Zeet had the experience of partnering up with other parties and guilds. He had partnered up with a variety of parties and Users. He could immediately tell his current partner's skill was extraordinary.
‘This is really my last opportunity.’
Moreover, the opportunity to work with such a skilled partner was hard to come by.
This was why on the third day of Blackened Remains Exploration Quest, Zeet revealed the information he had been hiding.
“Shall I tell you about the Blackened Remain Quest?”
“You've been keeping your mouth shut until now. So why are you telling me right now?”
“It just means the information I have is worth a lot. It isn't something I would tell someone at a first meeting.”
“All right. Tell me.”
This meant Zeet was ready to trust his partner this time, and he was showing his conviction in his desire to finish the Black Remains Quest.
“If you search for the Black Remains Quest, you'll hit on a lot of search results. It is basically the terminus Quest one can receive at Misandra's Castle. Still, why was no one able to solve it? What was the reason? The biggest reason was quite simple. It took time to break this Quest. Users wanted to level up and go do their Advancement. It was more wise and profitable to focus on leveling up than the Quest.”
He had arrived at the Misandra's Castle when it was first released. He hadn't come here with some goal in mind. In the first place, he didn't have friends, partners, or a guild to play this game with. He followed his feelings as he roamed towards various locations like a floating duckweed. He bounced around doing adventures, and he had arrived at Misandra's Castle by coincidence.
Moreover, he hadn't stayed at the Misandra's Castle with some specific goal in mind. His level coincided with Misandra's Castle, and it was a decent place to work out of. That was the sole reason why he stayed there.
The fun part for Zeet was the fact that he was able to acquire a variety of information as Users and groups passed through Misandra's Castle.
This method was quite inefficient if one wanted to Level Up or Spec Up at this location. However, it was a very effective way to acquire information.
This was why Zeet was able to gather as much information that could be used in Scenario Quests around Misandra's Castle.
"Let's return to the topic at hand. Beyond the Misandra's Castle, I think there might be an Event Location there.”
Zeet's partner appropriately showed interest in Zeet's words.
“What's the basis for this?”
“If you look at the NPCs at Misandra's castle, several of them have the Titles of Fugitive or Refugee.”
“As I progressed through the Quests related to the Subjugation Association, I increased my Intimacy Level with the NPCs. That was when I started hearing a particular expression being repeated. The most typical expression was 'Beyond there...' Basically, they were trying to express something ominous was present beyond the mountain, where the Block Field was present.”
“Maybe, the monsters gave them the ominous feeling.”
“These are NPCs within the Subjugation Association, where the purpose of the Association was to subjugate the monsters. If there were monsters, they would usually talk about how they would catch the monsters. They typically don't worry about how to avoid the monsters, because of the ominous feeling they felt.”
“You are quite knowledgeable about this game.”
“Look here, man. I spent 8 hours a day since Warlord was opened.”
“Yet you are only at that level?”
“This game is very unfair. In truth, my situation is quite normal. Warlord is overflowing with Scenario Quests even if we discounted the Main Scenario Quest. Each NPC in a castle all has at least one Scenario Quest. I don't want to jump from one hunting ground to another. Isn't it stranger to hop to another location like grasshoppers just because one wants a little bit more EXP? What kind of game is that? Even miners working in mines don't operate like that.”
“Continue with your story.”
“All right. I'll return to the main point. I've spoken to all the NPCs inside Misandra's Castle, and from their conversations, I've determined this might not be a Block Field. There is a high probability that this is a barrier instead of a Block Field. There is something across it, and the barrier is to block this thing from coming to Misandra's Castle.”
“So what's the connection between the barrier and the Blackened Remains?”
“The Blackened Remains that is mentioned in the Blackened Remains Quest might be a symbolism. Well, that part isn't that important. The important fact is that a lot of Users had tried to clear this. There was no downside in doing it. However, a lot of Users got frustrated trying to clear this quest, and no one was able to finish it. Do you know why?”
“It was more profitable to go for the Advancement.”
Zeet had a mysterious smile on his face when he heard his partner's words.
“Think hard on it. Quite a lot of resolute users have tried this search. Let me simplify it for you. Weren’t the Users trying to hunting, and conduct the search at the same time? This was what had happened. Naturally, the searches near level 90 monsters happened more frequently than other location. In other words…….”
“Not many people searched the low level hunting grounds.”
“Yes. That was their blind spot. There are hunting grounds around here where low level monsters appear. However, no one would concentrate on those hunting grounds. What crazy low level Users would come to a place that's considered to be the last stop on a Quest?”
Zeet's eyes shone as he spoke.
This was the background information on why Zeet had been obsessed with this Quest, and it was also the reason why he was so sure he could clear the Blackened Remains Quest.
At the same time, he had never told anyone about this truth. In truth, if he told someone else about this, other would have cleared the Quest instead of him. Moreover, if someone posted this online, the person would probably get praised online.
However, that would be the end of that.
Zeet wanted to be the main character in this story.
Moreover, he hadn't met a partner, who actually wanted to help him. This was why he never spoke what was inside his heart.
Truthfully, Zeet wanted to be a protagonist for this particular Quest. As he had told his partner, he had played this game for a long time. He wanted to leave an achievement that was all his own. He would feel a little bit of return for the amount of money and time he had invested in this game.
During all that time, there were only a handful of people, who even wanted to listen to his offer. Amongst all of them, this was the first time he had a partner, who would follow his instructions for 3 days. It didn't matter how much he complained.
“Therefore, if we move to the locations where there are low level monsters, we might find it.”
This was why Zeet was thankful. It was good fortune that he had met a good partner. Although, he didn't look to have a good personality.
“Be happy. This is the first time I've revealed this information to anyone else.”
His partner smiled for the first time at Zeet's words. It made him feel a sense of deja vu as if he had seen that smile from some video before.
This was a hunting ground where a monster slightly above level 60 appeared. The Sick Werewolf appeared here.
This hunting ground was located a bit farther away from Misandra's Castle, so it wasn't that popular. The biggest problem was the fact that one would have to get past a hunting ground filled with level 80 monsters to reach this place.
Moreover, the adjacent hunting grounds all had monsters that exceeded level 80.
It was basically a hunting ground with mines located everyone. It wasn't a place where one could hunt comfortably.
If it wasn't for that reason, it was actually a nice hunting ground where there were no competitors.
The Swing Guild had members of diverse levels. To help the low level guild members, it wasn't strange for them to come hunt at locations where the Sick Werewolves appeared.
“What are you doing here, Zeet?”
If Zeet hadn't shown up with a new partner, there wouldn't have been any problems.
“I'm just passing by. I'm passing through here.”
Zeet saw six guild members. It was a party with 2 women and four men. Within the game, he felt a chill run up his spine when he saw the group.
His first thoughts was 'Why were these Users here in the first place?' Moreover, he never expected it to be the Swing guild.
On the other side, the Swing guild considered this to be a pretty good opportunity.
Users, who had spent a decent amount of time at Misandra's Castle, all knew Zeet had put in a lot of effort in trying to progress in the Blackened Remains Quest.
The Swing Guild members were all thinking along the same line.
‘Is the Blackened Remains here?’
This was why Zeet was taken aback. In truth, he had been afraid of this happening. This was why he hadn't come here even if he suspected this was the location.
‘Shit. I had to run into the Swing Guild, of all the people.....’
If the Swing Guild realized what was going on, they wouldn't let Zeet go easily.
“You are just passing through? Who gave you permission to be able to pass through here? This place is within our guild's jurisdiction.”
When he heard those words, Zeet immediately knew what the Swing guild members were thinking.
‘These bastards have a rough idea of what going on. It was inevitable. Those bastards were always interested in every one of my moves.’
They wouldn’t easily believe his words.
“Why are you barking out nonsense? No guild can block someone from passing through a field. Even the 30 great guilds don’t act that way!”
“I don't care if normal Users pass through here. However, you have an account to settle with our guild.”
“One of our guild member suffered Game Over because of you. Of course, you have to settle that account.”
There were two reasons why the Swing Guild had done nothing to Zeet. They had watched him, while they grinded their teeth.
First, they weren't allowed to PK within the castle grounds. PK was possible, but they would be cussed out by everyone for carrying it out.
It was possible to do it outside in the fields, but Zeet always moved with a new party. He wasn’t officially affiliated with any groups. If they attacked Zeet, they would basically be attacking the party he was in. This was why the Swing Guild held back from carrying out their revenge.
“Are you trying to kill me? Is that what you are trying to do?”
It was the truth. They had no plans on killing Zeet. It might make them feel better to just kill him, but not every answer to a problem was to kill the other User.
“We aren't a PK guild.”
The Swing guild wasn't a 'bad manners guild', and they were absolutely not a PK guild.
“We just want your sincere apology, and a promise of a compensation. That is all we want.”
“I didn't even kill him that time! He got killed by a monster!”
As the one suffering this indignity, Zeet thought their actions were ridiculous. Of course, he hadn't behaved well at the time, but he never had any ill intent. It had been an accident. That should be all there was to it. They shouldn’t take revenge on him, because of an accident.
When Zeet raised his voice, the Swing guild members immediately hardened their expressions.
“What's going on?”
“Who's that person? Why are you guys fighting?"
The two women in the party reacted in an odd way. They reacted as if they didn't know what was going on. Also, one could tell they were getting annoyed by the situation.
In truth, the four men had mobilized to help the two ladies level up. This was a low level hunting ground for this two women! It was a romantic gesture inside the game. From the view of a third party, these Users were desperately trying to get a date even if it was within a virtual reality.
Anyways, these four Users were trying to be looked favorably by these two women, so they couldn't avoid this confrontation. Moreover, this was a four vs two fight.
‘Should we fight them?’
‘Zeet is a scrub. However, the remaining User... At a glance, he doesn't look like much.’
‘If we fight, we'll most definitely win. It isn't as if they have a priest. Isn't it just a 2 man party?’
The result of the fight was clear. At the very least, it looked obvious to Zeet and the Swing Guild Members.
Zeet gritted his teeth.
“How much do you want?”
This was the worst case scenario for Zeet. If he suffered a Game Over and the Swing guild used the clues gather from his movements, they might clear the Blackened Remains Quest. His number one priority was to survive this encounter.
“One thousand gold should be enough.”
An immediate answer was given at that moment. It hadn't come out from Zeet's mouth. It was Zeet's partner, who had spoken.
Zeet tilted his head in confusion.
The Swing guild members also tilted their head in confusion.
Everyone looked at Zeet's partner. He didn't look like someone, who would spit out those words, 'Crazy bastards.'
It was quite the opposite. He looked like a pushover, who would tremble in fear if one yelled, 'Hey!', in a mean way.
Everyone was dazed as they stood still for a brief moment.
Zeet's partner raised his voice.
“It isn't as if you guys discovered Misandra's castle, yet you are claiming ownership of a hunting ground? Crazy bastards. I was going to tolerate it, and let it pass, but this is bullshit. If you continue to insist on this bullshit, you guys are sick.”
“Who the hell are you?”
“Me? Will you know me if I inform you? Do you want my character name, real name, home address, birthplace, and birthday? Will you be able to know who I am?”
“……are you trying to pick a fight with me?”
“Pick a fight with you? Shall we go repeat what was said a moment ago? Shall we go poll, who people think started this quarrel? Do you want to bet 10 thousand gold on it?”
The members of the Swing guild closed their mouth tight.
It wasn't as if what Zeet's partner had said was wrong. If one put aside their grudge, the Swing Guild was basically using their superior number to bully Users. This was the truth.
The only reason why they got away with it was the fact that strength was the law here. If this happened in real life, people would have already reported them to the police.
In other words, Swing guild still held the power here. There was no reason why they should close their mouth and tamp down their anger.
‘Son of a bitch.’
‘Ellie and Yoz is watching us right now. This is a bit embarrassing...’
Viol, who possessed the highest level, moved. He had already reached level 102.
“You are a third party, yet you are inserting yourself into a matter between Zeet and our guild.... How interesting.”
In truth, Viol was a User that shouldn't be present here. He was here to celebrate his Advancement. He was here to help the low level Users, while he impressed others with the Skills he had earned from his Advancement. He had come here to show off. If he was being a little bit more truthful, he had come here, since he had a strong interest in the female User named Ellie.
“If you are trying to pick a fight, you should be more clear about it. Put up your sword. Let's do a 1on1 battle.”
“What are we betting on the match?”
“Let's put our wrist on the line.”
Zeet's expression harden at Viol's confident manner.
‘Don't do it. That bastard already went through his Advancement!’
On the other hand, Zeet's partner smiled.
“All right. I'll accept the terms. If I can't take you down within 3 minutes, I'll work like a dog under the Swing guild for the rest of my life.”
Viol kept his emotion in check when he heard the other User's provocation. This caused him to speak in a way he normally wouldn't.
“We aren't an inferior guild where a bastard like you can just join.”
Viol was markedly different from Zeet's partner, who had on a plain Item setting. As befitting a User, who went through Advancement, he had a fairly robust Item setting. Viol looked the part as he tried to act like a gentleman. He also had his helm off. The fact that his face was exposed meant that he was confident.
“If a certain crazy bitch heard your words, she would have killed you.”
“Wait a moment.”
With those words, Zeet's partner bent as if he was picking up something from the floor. When Zeet's partner stood back up, he immediately rushed toward Viol.
The sound of two swords clashing rang out. Viol didn't even have the opportunity to let out an urgent shout.
At the same time, Zeet's partner threw the sand he was holding in his hand towards Viol's eyes.
Since he wasn't wearing his helm, the sand hit Viol's eyes.
“W...what the hell?”
Viol was taken aback.
Zeet's partner planted his sword between Viol's eyes.
It was a more frightening scene for those watching more so than the actual User, who had suffered the attack.
This was how the battle with Viol ended. Viol was in a Blind state as he struggled. Zeet's partner tripped him, then he pushed his foot down hard on Viol's chest. Viol wasn't fully sure what was going on, but he understood he had been overcome. When he had come to this realization, Viol stilled.
“This is the end to the 1on1 battle. I won't confirm my kill, so you can leave after you give me your watch. What about the rest of you? Ah, you can walk past this place. However, you will have to give a toll fee of 100 gold. Unlike someone else here, I'm giving you guys a very conscientious price.”
Of course, the situation wasn't' resolved yet.
The remaining three members raised their weapons. It seemed they weren't willing to pay the toll fee, and walk away from this.
Zeet's partner looked at his opponents, then he spoke to Zeet.
“Hey, Zeet. If these guys try to get their revenge on you on a later date, it isn't my fault. You agree, right?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter