Bruno informed him that the Cohen Merchant group was essentially a subservient branch of the Golden Rose Society. The two of them had come into contact by pure coincidence, about a year ago.
Although he was unaware of the Golden Rose Society’s ultimate goal, he did know that they were scouring the continent in search of something.
‘Is it the Dragonstone?’
A legendary artifact which is said to have a secret power sealed within it. It had never been found, even in his past life. That was the case despite the Dragons eventually returning from their dimension to fight against the other races.
As he left Bruno’s residence, Woohyuk summarized in his mind the current situation.
‘There no pawn within the Rhine Kingdom which the Golden Rose Society has any hold over.’
The traitorous nobles had all been wiped out, and the same went for those dirty merchant groups. Erica and Adonis were not likely to fall out of line and get involved with illicit merchandise.
Although it was difficult to predict how the Demons might act, he still had Aris and Loengreen on his side, so it wouldn’t be easy for them to simply invade.
‘I can now head to the Izuna kingdom.’
Bruno, who was the main culprit behind this entire incident, was sent to the underground prison beneath Blackburn, escorted by Leifina.
It was a place where countless criminals were held, including Count Gwain. It was basically an impregnable fortress, that one couldn’t escape from.
Shortly after arriving at the docks, he spotted a few ships which were preparing to take off.
Woohyuk made his way over and inquired as to their fare.
“It’s 38 silvers to port Delphoa.”
Said an old man from atop his ship, named ‘Cambell’
Based on how he was dressed, he was surely the captain.
“That sounds a bit expensive for such a short journey.”
“Sea travel has become more dangerous these days.”
The Nelf Bay which stood between the two kingdoms, had seen a lot of tragedies in recent years. One common sighting was that of a ghost ship appearing be it in the day or at night.
These ghost ships would attack any ship they encountered, surrounding them in a black mist. Naturally this led to a sharp decline in trade and transport between the two kingdoms.
In essence, the increased price was reflected by the higher risk the captain had to take.
“Okay, I’ll pay.”
Hearing the captain’s explanation, Woohyuk acquiesced.
As he paid his fare and climbed on board, the crewmen hoisted the sail and they were off.
‘So there are ghost ships.’
There was a pretty high probability that this was connected to some kind of event quest. This meant that there would be a time limit, before it would disappear forever.
Ghost ships generally occurred when sailors died at sea. Unless they were bound by a very strong curse, the majority of them would disappear after some time.
‘I can’t afford to wait that long though.’
In order to not draw any attention to himself, he hadn’t revealed his Abyssal Ship. At worst, he could always count on Triton to deal with them.
If somehow many of them attacked at once, he might even lend a hand.
As Woohyuk stared out into the horizon, someone approached him.
“Hey there, aren’t you not here with your party members?”
It was a white man with blonde hair. Considering that he had an Adventurer’s watch, he was likely in his mid-thirties.
“What Clan are you in? We are the Pitbull Clan.”
It had been three months since they’d all arrived on the Eeth continent, so Clans were required to select a name for themselves.
Woohyuk glanced at the guy’s party members and answered.
It represented the end of time for the gods. His clan’s name embodied his will to achieve the Divine Throne this time around.
“Give me a moment, I want to check your ranking.”
The man before him tapped his finger in the air. There was now a new Clan tab from the Adventurer’s watch. This allowed a player to view any information about his own Clan, as well as the name of the Clans in the top 35%.
After trying to search for it, the man started to laugh.
“You guys must have a low ranking, are you a small Clan?”
“It indeed isn’t very large.”
“If your leader is killed, come over to our Pitbull Clan. Of course we are all full at the moment, but you can enter the waiting list.”
What great confidence the guy had. His Clan barely made the top 35% cut off, and yet he seemed to brag about it as if it was some great achievement.
“Jacob, don’t go around giving internal information to others. What if he was a spy from one of the Clans hostile to us?”
“It’s okay, can’t you see that they are also promoting.”
Jacob shrugged as he pointed to a brunette with glasses.
Upon seeing the two Pitbull Clan members discussing among themselves, he thought back to the past.
‘Back then there had been some Clans that had put it all on the line, just for the sake of improving their rank.’
No one really had a goal or direction, because they lacked any general information. That was the reason everyone was so focused on the rankings.
Of course, if they were able to properly make use of the Clan system, they could obtain nice rewards. But it wasn’t worth getting into meaningless competitions over.
‘This time around I’ll try to stay away from the Clan War as much as possible.’
It was one of the reasons that he had prioritized taking over the Rhine kingdom so quickly, so that he wouldn't’ have to engage in this war for territory.
But that alone wouldn’t be enough.
Clan that were highly ranked would attract a lot of attention, so at this stage he preferred to keep his member count low. Either way, the number of people that could join was fixed, so one’s individual prowess was still a determinant factor.
“Ah, sorry about that. I had a little disagreement with my clanmate.”
As Woohyuk was busy looking over the Clan rankings, Jacob spoke up.
It seemed like he wanted to boast some more.
Woohyuk looked over with an annoyed expression.
“Was there anything you wanted to add?”
“Don’t be so uptight, I’m just trying to pass the time since it takes a full three days to arrive at Delphoa port.”
“I used to be a police officer in America. I’ve dealt with all kinds of people throughout the course of my career, which allowed me to quickly adapt to life in this world.”
As he had expected, the man continued bragging about himself.
Although he seemed like an okay guy and was at a decent level, compared to Woohyuk it was like night and day.
Jacob had no idea who the man standing before him truly was.
“Why is it that you are leaving the Rhine kingdom all by yourself? The noble’s rebellion had been taken care of, and the monsters had all been wiped out.”
“I have some personal business.”
“You seem to have an adventurer’s spirit. Well at least that is one of the good things about being in a small Clan, the freedom. We have no choice now but to return due to our orders from the Clan.”
The Pitbull Clan was based in the Izuna kingdom. They had only come over to the Rhine kingdom due to some business in the black market.
However Woohyuk couldn't care less about their situation. He still had many more important things to consider.
“What do you plan on doing when the ghost ship appears?”
“We might fight if it’s just one or two ships, but any more than that would be too much.”
There were currently less than thirty people on board, and things could become quite difficult if they had to fight in close quarters.
“I hope nothing bad happens on our way to port Delphoa.”
“Haha! Stop worrying so much, everything will be fine.”
Jacob smiled as he banged his chest and laughed heartily.
As Seagulls cries were heard from the sky, he started narrating his own heroic exploits once more.
* * *
The first night of their sailing trip, Woohyuk was above deck, not having gone to bed. He wanted to see if a ghost ship would appear.
The captain spoke as he stared into the distance.
“In the past, Nelf Bay was a battlefield upon which countless naval wars were fought. Perhaps the souls of the fallen have reappeared in this world once more.”
“Are they pirates?”
“Some, but there are also smugglers, slaves and even simple sailors just like me.”
The captain went on to explain recount some legends
Siren’s Melody, a fairy-like being that sends the sailors into a trance with but a song.
A love story between a captain lost at sea and a mermaid.
Legends about the treasure which the famous pirate, Henry Morgan hid on a remote island.
He had countless stories, but none piqued Woohyuk’s interest.
“I’ve heard all those.”
“You must have great interest in the sea then, young man. You don’t seem the type to have worked as a sailor.”
Woohyuk's current appearance was that of a young man with red hair, as he was currently wearing his Jester’s Mask.
“I’m a bard, so I happen to know many stories.”
“That’s quite surprising, I took you for a fighter.”
The captain had been in this line of work for 250 years, and had noticed some fighting spirit in him.
Woohyuk nodded as he stared back at the man.
“I once worked as a mercenary, but it was out of necessity to have something to eat and barely get by.”
“Even among mercenaries, few have such sharp eyes, you must have led a difficult life.”
“...You don’t seem to be the average captain either.”
This captain seemed to have quite the uncanny eye. His own prowess wasn’t hidden from him, even if the captain was busy holding on to the ship’s wheel.
He didn’t seem to miss the slightest detail, as he observed Woohyuk like a hawk.
“Haha! Young man, I’ve taken a liking to you.”
The captain chortled happily. He then looked up into the starry sky, as he reminisced about his past.
“Actually, I used to be a pirate. Although I was never some bigshot like Drake, I was still quite well known.
He had sailed together with Henry Morgan, but had retired due to a death curse.
The curse was such that every time they boarded a pirate’s ship, their lifespan would be reduced by 10 years.
“Do you know who set the curse?”
“I don’t know. It occurred upon discovering a red jewel on an island in the Nelf Bay. I tried to find the owner of the jewel, but failed.”
In the past 200 years, he had yet to meet an archaeologist that could tell him the origins of this red jewel.
Of course many simply refused to even attempt it due to the nature of the curse.
As Wallace pulled out the jewel in question, Woohyuk got closer and took a look at it with his Golden Magnifying Glass.
[Anne Bonny’s Grief]
Effect: Any pirate who touches it, is targeted by a terrible curse. Each time they board a ship flying a pirate flag, their lifespan is reduced by 10 years. If they die at sea, they turn in Ghost, cursed to wander at sea. To break this curse, one must present this jewel to Anne Bonnie.
‘Is Anne Bonny its owner?’
She had been a famous female pirate, but was killed by a colleague whom she had trusted. Legend had it that she had been engaged at the time. Perhaps this red jewel had been a betrothal gift from her fiance.
The recent appearance of ghost ships were almost certainly connected to Anne Bonny.
Now that he had the whole story, Woohyuk put away his magnifying glass and spoke.
“You’ve stolen from quite the dangerous woman, Wallace.”
“Who? Do you know her identity?”
“Anny Bonny. A beautiful woman with stunning red hair, she was said to be rather handy with a cutlass as well.”
“Anne Bonny? Shit, I’ve always said that I’m the unluckiest of fellows.”
Wallace had started up a small business in Media after saving up some money earned from transporting cargo across long distances. Unfortunately sales weren’t as good as he had expected, so he had no choice but to return to the sea.
“Why don’t you try to meet her, and try to ease her grief.”
“It’s all too late for that. Old as I am, I can hardly take up pirating once again.”
Henry Morgan and all of his crewmates had died. If it wasn’t for that fact that he had failed in his latest business venture, he could have stayed at home and watched his grandchildren grow old.
As Wallace lamented at his poor fate,
The sound of a woman crying was heard at sea, as dozens of ghost ships appeared.
It seemed to be Anne Bonny’s pirate fleet, as their sails were decorated with her famous thorny rose painted in red.
“Speak of the Kraken….”
Wallace said with a troubled expression.
He was but an old man, long past his glorious pirate days. Just waiting for the day death found him. There wasn’t much he could do against Anne Bonny’s ghost fleet.Previous Chapter Next Chapter