Chapter 140 – Across the Terube Castle Wall (1)
The NPC hadn’t reach the status of being a young man. Its youthful appearance was stuck between that of a boy and a young man.
“Are you serious?”
It spoke in a grave manner, which clashed with the delicate voice it possessed.
“Will you really do as you say?”
Even the deep wrinkles that was forming at the top of its face gave off a child-like impression. It diluted the message it was giving.
“Are you really planning on traveling beyond the Terube castle wall?”
It was the captain in charge of the Terube castle wall. It had been loyal subject to Prince Dean. However, it was also a hidden hero of this world, who had fought against the Corrupted monsters. Bagel rejoiced at the offer given by the man in front of it. It was beyond rejoicing. There seemed to be a different reason aside from happiness that made Bagel suddenly stand up from its seat.
When it stood up, a moan immediately escaped Bagel’s mouth. It was always prepared for battle. Bagel was in its office, yet it was in its armor. This was why one couldn’t see the wound beneath the armor. It still possessed the evidence of betrayal perpetrated by Prince Dean and the White-eyed swordsman Argardo. It still had the sword wound.
Bagel was lucky to be alive. The wound was so severe that it was shocking that Bagel was still carrying out his duties, while equipped in its armor. This was why Bagel didn’t complain about its slow recovery.
“I’m fine. I’m all right.”
When he heard the moan, the guest got up from his seat to approach Bagel. Bagel waved him away.
“I’m just thankful that I am alive. I don’t want to burden a hero like you, because of this.”
The guest put on an awkward smile, and he sat back down. Bagel moved to the corner of its office where its books were organized. It immediately pulled out a book.
“This is something I acquired a long time ago.”
From its outward appearance, the book was thick. However, the book wasn’t filled with many pages. The reason being the thickness of each page. The book was filled with woodblocks. Bagel took out the book, and it carefully looked over the engravings on the pages.
“This was before I became the captain in charge of the Terube wall. This was even before I followed him when he became the Guardian of the Northern lands.”
The woodblocks were filled with engravings of a map. Bagel took the book, and he sat atop of his desk. In the process, his heavy armor moved, and it seemed the wound had been disturbed again. Bagel’s expression crumpled, but it didn’t moan this time.
When Bagel’s pained face resolved itself, it took out the woodblocks contained in the book. It started piecing them together as if they were pieces of a puzzle.
As Hyrkan had surmised, the woodblocks were a map.
“This is the map of the Northern land. This was before this era where the endless battle hadn’t started yet.”
His explanation was grandiose, but the content of the map was quite poor. Most of the map was drawn in an abstract manner. There was a long road, and there were monsters that were letting out flame next to the road. The mountain was drawn like a big lump of cotton. The trees inside the forest was drawn like doodles, and there were no markers naming everything. Moreover, the map was incomplete. The top part of the map was missing. It was as if the map’s head had been cut away.
“It is a relic from a long time ago, so it isn’t perfect.”
Bagel tapped on top of of the table as he tapped at the empty portion of the map.
“In the end, I never found out what is here. Moreover, there is no one alive that knows this information either.”
The guest, who had listened to it in silence, finally asked some questions.
What do you think is over there? Do you perhaps know any other information regarding the place?
However, Bagel had heard all the information available, so it let out a long sigh.
“I have my hand full from defending the Terube castle wall. At times, I tasked a subordinate to investigate what was on the other side of the castle wall. However, they just came back with warnings of overwhelming number of monsters, or they went missing. If I wanted a thorough investigation, I would have to lead forth a large army. I couldn’t send a large army across the thick castle wall, and through the mysterious barrier to explore the Northern land. This is especially true, since I’ll be doing it just to satisfy my curiosity.”
The guest said couple more words to Bagel. Bagel gathered boths its hand, so it could prop its chin on top. It spoke in that position.
“Yes. It is as you said. The power of Corruption may be… That upright person might have a clue about the power of Corruption. This is why I was curious about what was there in the past. However, I felt I had a duty to find out what was there. However!”
That word was filled with heavy implication. The guest was about to ask a question, but he swallowed the question.
“No one was allowed to explore this place.”
Bagel immediately put on a big frown. It wasn’t caused by his wound.
“There are already movements set in motion. A large-scale change is coming. For now, no one will be able to assume the power of the Northern land. In such a situation, no rewards will be given. There will be a ban placed on the Northern land. The Hiban kingdom, and even the Subjugation Association won’t lend a hand. This is a search conducted to find the unknown, and there will be no prize awarded. The only way you will be able to receive a reward is to bring back result.”
Bagel maintained its expression, and it immediately asked him a question.
“Do you still want to go to the other side of the castle wall?”
Instead of answering, the guest nodded his head. Bagel immediately got up from its seat.
Afterwards, Bagel worked with practiced ease. It painted ink over the woodblocks, and Bagel placed a white parchment over it. The very rough map was handed over to the guest.
[Quest ‘Across the Terube Castle Wall’ has started.]
When Bagel said those words, Hrykan heard the Quest Announcement. Hyrkan’s expression was twitching right now.
He was forcefully trying to hide his expression. It seemed he wasn’t trying to hide a favorable expression. It was quite evident that he was trying to hide a negative emotion.
He had a reason for it.
“This is the word I told those before you, who are willingly throw one’s body forward into danger for the peace of the world. I will also say those same words to you. Be safe, and I hope you bring hope like before.”
Someone had arrived before him.
‘Some bastard came here before me?’
If one wanted to go to the Frozen Kingdom, this place was the door everyone had to pass through. When Hyrkan arrived at the Terube castle, he was greeted fondly by Bagel. Hyrkan was the Hiban kingdom’s hero, and he was the Arbiter of Corruption. Moreover, Hyrkan had defeated Argardo, who scored a deep wound on Bagel. Hyrkan was Bagel’s savior and hero.
It was to be expected. Bagel had been a bit prickly in the past, but it wasn’t like that at all.
On top of it all, Hyrkan felt uncomfortable when he saw what kind of expression Bagel had on when it looked at Hyrkan. It was as if a young junior was looking at a cool senior with longing and expectation mixed within its gaze. Moreover, the gaze was coming from a pretty boy, and Hyrkan had never received such a gaze from anyone before. From Hyrkan’s perspective, it was beyond uncomfortable. It was close to unsettling.
This was how the conversation had started, and Hyrkan’s inside started to feel a wrenching sensation as the conversation continued along.
When the conversation came to an end, Hyrkan’s inside had moved on from feeling a wrenching feeling. His inside were in a knot.
‘I don’t know who, but that bastard cost me one Title.’
Someone had already met Bagel, and this someone was already headed towards the Frozen Kingdom.
This fact in itself didn’t put him in a good mood. No one would welcome the appearance of a competitor.
‘The Noble Walk Title…. It increases one’s Stamina by 50 points, yet I lost it to someone else. Before I did my other tasks, I should have come here to get the Quest and Title beforehand. Shit!’
From Hyrkan’s perspective, the preceding visitor had stolen a Title that was rightfully his.
‘In the end, I was only able to earn the Noble Explorer.’
The Title ‘Noble Explorer’ was something one earned when one gained the incredibly important Exploration Quest. It increased one’s Intelligence by 25 points.
However, Hyrkan felt wistful at losing the Title ‘Noble Steps.’
It was a Title given to the first one to receive the Quest and the Noble Explorer Title. It increased one’s Stamina by 50 Points.
He had lost a Title that would have raised his Stamina by 50 Points. This wasn’t something he could simply get over by feeling sorry for himself.
‘Which organization was it?’
His insides were hurting so much that it felt as if his insides were rotting.
However, his pain shrivelled away when a thought that made a chill run up his spine popped up inside his head.
‘Was it perhaps the Stormhunters?’
One couldn’t go across the Terube Castle just because one wanted to.
First, one needed a prior relationship with Bagel. At the same time, one needed to have done a lot of jobs related to the Subjugation Association. If one did a lot of work related to the Subjugation Association, it meant one probably had to catch a hideous amount of monsters.
At this point in the game, the only ones that had the qualifications to start the Frozen Kingdom Quest was the highest Ranked Users.
Moreover, the Stormhunters sufficiently met this criteria. Before he returned to the past, the Frozen Kingdom had been monopolized by the Storm Hunters. This was why Hyrkan was well informed about the Titles. The Stormhunters monopolized the Frozen Kingdom, and they revealed the Titles, Skill Books and Items that were obtained there.
Basically, he didn’t discount the idea that maybe some Items were fated to be in the hands of certain individual. He couldn’t discount the fact that this was meant to be. At this point in the game, it was quite possible that the Stormhunters were progressing in the Frozen Kingdom Quest.
Moreover, this version of the Stormhunters guild was much stronger than the one that had attempted the Frozen Kingdom.
‘This is driving me nuts.’
While he was deep within thoughts, Hyrkan was trying to wrap up the conversation, so he spoke the words that would basically put an end to their exchange.
Since he put an end to the conversation, he was about to get up.
“Are you planning on heading there immediately?”
Bagel suddenly grabbed Hyrkan.
“It will be a dangerous road. I was thinking maybe you should make a little bit more preparation…. I readied something that’ll help you in your exploration.”
Hyrkan put on an awkward smile.
‘Bagel hadn’t been such a character before… Things are turning a bit weird now that our Affinity is high.’
At that moment, Hyrkan had no choice, but to sit back down.
‘Well, I did kill someone, who had tried to kill him. He wouldn’t send me into a deadly situation without giving me anything. Absolutely.’
Since it said it will give him something, he wasn’t going to turn it down. Moreover, Hyrkan had spent much more than he had planned on his recent purchases.
‘Give me a Skill Book. Please.’
After he gained the [Chivalry] skill, he once again purchased No Name Skill Books to gain the [Leader] Skill.
However, the result was a complete loss.
When he thought about that, Hyrkan eventually frowned. He had tossed money into the air. Of course, he wouldn’t feel good about it.
“Wait a moment.”
Of course, Bagel didn’t know Hyrkan’s true feelings. It vacated its seat to get the present for Hyrkan.
When he was alone, Hyrkan once again agonized over his thoughts.
‘For reals. Who was it?’
He kept worrying over it… He was worried he had missed something important.
Natal had his Hologram Window in front of him, and he was looking at something. He was looking at portraits.
“What are you looking at?”
Sohank discreetly appeared behind him. He had shown enough of a presence as he approached Natal. He didn’t want to surprise Natal. This was also why Natal was able to answer in a calm manner.
“This is the portraits of the Users that gained the Quest from Bagel after us.”
In Warlord, one could film from all kinds of angle unlike in reality. However, if the Users being filmed had turned off the facial recognition setting, there was no way one could film their faces.
This was why this method was developed. A User that was adept at drawing would draw a portrait after seeing the target with his own eyes.
In Warlord and any other virtual reality games, everything was made possible through cutting edge technology. In such a world, the people who were good with their hands were more valuable. It was ironic that they were more valuable in a virtual world.
Of course, Sohank and Natal didn’t care if it was ironic or not.
“So basically the one we are chasing may be in one of these portraits.”
The appearance of the Users that had a face to face meeting with Bagel was saved. This was to gather information on their competitors beforehand.
“Fortunately, there aren’t anyone famous here.”
“If you say we are fortunate, we are fortunate.”
If there had been a famous face amongst them,there was no downside in being vigilant against the famous User. Still, even if they were unknown Users, there was a chance they might become a big competitor. There was no reason why they shouldn’t gather information on everyone like this. It might not matter to any other guild, but it was very important to the Hydra guild.
They knew the importance of data and information. Their guild used both as weapons.
“This one looks pretty hopeless.”
Of course, not everyone was determined to be a competitor. Sometimes, one could discount a person just by looking at his face. One shouldn’t be prejudiced when making a judgement in a game. On the other hand, these habits were hard to break.
“Ah. Doesn’t this guy look like a real pushover?”
However, Natal wasn’t also free from judging a book by its cover.
“I am hesitant to make judgements based on a person’s look, but even I think this guy isn’t one of our competitors.”
“I feel the same way. Still, it could be possible, right?”
“That is what people who purchase lottery tickets think before they purchase it.”
Natal smirked at Sohank’s words.
When he heard Natal’s laughter, Sohank discreetly changed his expression. He spoke in a slightly calmer voice.
“This is going to be quite an annoying mission. I’m just here as the muscle, but the rest of eight heads have to assess all possibilities.”
“Isn’t that our role?”
“Sometime I wonder if I cause harm to our guild.”
After he spoke those words, a bitter smile appeared on his lips. He was on break, but it seemed Sohand was unable to take a break. It seemed he felt apologetic towards his comrades, who had to constantly use their intellect.
Natal immediately shot down that idea.
“That is the case at all. We can’t do this through our heads only. We were able to get to this point thanks to Sohank-nim.”
“No. We are lacking with just me. In truth, I already know how I measure up to others. If our Stats are the same, I might be able to go up against the Matador, but I know I will lose to the Storm Queen. Then there is the Hahoe…”
The two of them were about to have a more frank discussion, but….
– The monsters have appeared! There are nine of them. I don’t think it’ll be easy.
An urgent voice was heard through the voice talk.
Sohank didn’t finish his words before he started speaking out new directions.
“I’ll be there. Before I get there, put the Tankers at the center, and defend! Don’t attempt any rash attacks until I get there!”
Before the conversation could end, a terrifying roar rang out. Sohank and Natal moved together. They didn’t have to speak to coordinate with each other. There was no carelessness or leisure in their movements.
This place was a location beyond the Terube castle walls. Even the Hydra guild’s best troops couldn’t be careless. This place was filled with level 200 monsters, and they were of a different quality from all the monsters they had faced before.
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