283 Into The Treasury
Draco unhesitatingly stepped forward, bowing low to greet the Emperor. "Pioneer Draco greets his Majesty, the Emperor, her Majesty the Empress, the two Princes, as well as every single dignified person in court today."
Everyone's eyes lit up and they nodded their heads. This particular pioneer was truly a well-mannered fellow who understood royal etiquette!
The beautiful Empress that sat beside her husband gazed at Draco with a hidden fervor. Her eyes gleamed as she took in his enticing form, but this was not obvious to any onlooker.
Draco felt weird about this. If it was before, when he could barely control his aura of temptation, this would be understandable. But now, it was barely active. It couldn't be that she was enraptured by his raw handsomeness?
Of course, that one existed, but it shouldn't be the case where even an Empress couldn't resist. It was an undeniable fact that she was of a higher Rank than he, since his Eyes of Caelo couldn't see through her.
Draco thought about it and checked his passive skills. Then, he almost wanted to slap his forehead as he realized something which he hadn't paid attention to at all because it had been mostly useless so far.
｢Charm – Passive skill
Effect: Those of the opposite sex, as well as those who are sexually oriented towards you, will be extremely enthralled by you.｣
This was a non-combat skill he largely ignored because it was an official one. It didn't take in account his Dark Angel Inheritance or his natural handsomeness.
Like every other skill part of his interface, it worked based on his stats, other skills, equipment effects and whatnot. In essence, system-controlled mechanics.
His Charisma stat had been maxed at 10 so far, so its effect was almost non-existent. It had always been his natural handsomeness and Dark Angel aura that had seduced women, so this was a first.
He currently had 70 points in Charisma, which was a lot. Even a bard like Rambunctious wouldn't have this amount at Rank 1, unless he focused on it. However, Draco felt that this alone was not enough to work on a woman so far above his Rank.
Then he remembered the effect of Devil's Guile and could only smile wryly. Apart from making him free from spending his system resources, it also increased the effects of mental activities/skills by 100%.
So, this Charm skill was working on the basis that Draco had 140 points of Charisma, not just a mere 100. No wonder the Empress radiated intense lust.
Naturally, Draco could suss out her lustful intent thanks to his Horned Demon inheritance. It also wasn't just the Empress, but many other women were gazing at him with passion in their eyes.
The Emperor noticed this and smiled. It seemed that this pioneer was truly a temptation for women. Luckily, his beloved Empress was a superior woman who would not fall for mere physical lust.
As such, unlike the other husbands who were with their wives in court, the Emperor wasn't bothered at all.
"Pioneer, you are to enter the gateway that appeared in our Empire and discover what lies within. Are you willing to do so?"
"I am, my Emperor. Might I be furnished with more details concerning the gateway? Anything at all to help me prepare for what lies within." Draco asked with a humble tone.
The Emperor nodded. "Please follow my royal Chamberlain. He will handle your mission details and your payment. Please do your best for the sake of the Godmar Divine Empire, Pioneer Draco." The Emperor said genially.
He normally wasn't this polite to outsiders, but Draco's prim and proper manners, his professional bearing, his handsomeness that reminded the Emperor of his own youth, and his willingness to do this task without hedging like a coward had impressed the Emperor.
Draco bowed deeply once more to the Emperor and lightly towards the court before following behind the royal Chamberlain silently. The women of the court looked pained by his departure, while the fellows gazed at him with admiration.
Of course, a good amount of those fellows glared with unhappiness and chagrin due to him indirectly tempting their wives. The wives in question were given harsh looks, and they could only be silent in the face of this.
It wasn't their fault that fellow was like a walking sausage kebab while they were like starved beasts!
Draco toured through the huge castle while following the royal Chamberlain. Qiong Qi and Clarent had been placed in his inventory's special space for mounts and combat pets.
If they were out, that previous meeting would not have been so pleasant. Draco also learned his lesson, so he switched off the Charm passive skill to prevent future mishaps.
He certainly didn't want to end up like Diarmuid.
"Thank you for coming quickly Pioneer Draco. This gateway appeared in the depths of the castle's dungeon, swallowing many prisoners we kept there under tight lock and key."
"The guards were also whisked away, leaving us to worry about their fate. The various teams we've sent so far to investigate their disappearance all have yet to return, so I decided to seek out a professional."
The Chamberlain had a noticeably British accent, and he carried himself quite humbly regardless. He was possibly the second most powerful man in the kingdom after the Emperor, but he was so easy to talk to.
He didn't let Draco walk behind him, but walked beside him, indicating that they were of equal standing. This treatment made Draco respect the fellow, but he didn't trust him straightaway.
He did not know the story of the Chamberlain from his past life, so he could not tell his character straight away. His rebalanced Eyes of Caelo were useless on targets above his Rank, so his ability to sense negative emotions was the only thing he could use to judge him.
He was getting nothing on that end, so he could only keep his cynicism at heart. Draco asked the Chamberlain a few more questions to ascertain what this quest was about, but the answers were very inconclusive.
They were just as blind to the facts as he was at the moment. That was why they had hired him after all.
Draco remained silent and went through the huge castle with the Chamberlain, going deeper and deeper until there were only torches to provide the light.
However, Draco did not need any light with his Eyes of Caelo or Control. He walked on calmly, even though the Chamberlain before him was slowly becoming uncomfortable with the sparse lighting.
Eventually, they arrived at the bottom floor, where a single hallway that was tiled with granite led to a huge door. On either side of the door were two elite guards garbed in black, and they almost seemed to be invisible to the naked eye.
The Chamberlain nodded to them and pushed the door open, leading Draco into an elaborate prison that was empty. Many guards patrolled the area though, as there were many Tradeskill members here to investigate and research this strange occurrence.
The Chamberlain was greeted respectfully by these people, and they observed Draco with curiosity. Many could guess that he was here to investigate the gateway, and so they greeted him as well.
Draco observed the so-called gateway. It was a huge portal that swirled like a black hole, not even revealing a peek as to what lay on the other side.
One couldn't help but feel that once they entered, they would be swallowed into the belly of the abyss with no hope of ever surfacing again.
Draco inspected it with the Eyes of Caelo, and he frowned heavily. He saw traces of a whitish energy leaking from the gateway slowly, merging with the atmosphere in the dungeon.
The concentration was so low that it was almost non-existent, but it was there. Naturally, this was Divine Energy!
Draco frowned not because of energy of such a nature being on the other side of the gateway. After all, that was the treasury of a True God, so anything less would be shameful.
No, what made him frown was the fact that energy was leaking in the first place. Luckily, it was so small that only people sensitive to it could sense it.
Should anyone of Richmond's caliber come here, they would be able to suss it out. The same was true for Rila as well as any Angelic species. However, for what reason would anyone of these entities come here?
Suddenly, the time limit on the quest made sense. At the rate in which the energy was leaking, it would become concentrated in about a year or less. At that time, even a rodent would be able to tell that something was up.
By then, the Godmar Divine Empire definitely wouldn't allow some external pioneer to delve into the treasure trove. They would pay any price to explore and loot it fully, so if he was still in there by then, he wouldn't be able to pretend as if he didn't get any benefits.
It would then turn into a scene of him fleeing while they gave chase, all in order to seize whatever he got. In essence, he absolutely had to make sure that he accomplished whatever he had to before that time came.
Draco smiled and greeted the other fellows and chatted for a bit with them. He had to find out how much they knew and try to point them in the wrong direction by any means necessary.
Seeing as they knew jackshit, he was relieved. He then announced that he would be entering the gateway to explore what lay on the other side, and they gave way.
Draco slowly and dramatically walked towards the huge swirling gateway, his form resembling a tasty morsel falling into the maw of a gargantuan beast. It gave the fellows here the chills, and they swore never to get too close to it.
They could only pray for Draco and hope that he would not share the same fate as the ones who came before. The Chamberlain also felt this way, and left the dungeon with a heavy expression.
This gateway… just what existed on the other side?
Draco coalesced in a meadowland that had beautiful flowers, green grass and lovely evergreen trees. It was a scene straight from a modern concept art for the best games, a sight that was hard to appreciate in the real world.
Draco looked left and right to but there was only more meadowland as far as he could see. He then cast out his Void of Perfection to assess what lay around him.
With its strengthened state, he was confident he could scan up to 150 km, which was a crazy distance. However, Draco's face changed when he noticed that he could only scan up to 1km around his body.
What was restricting him? The AI had stated nothing about such a limitation in the quest details! In fact, it should be completely impossible to suppress Control, as it was something from his body.
It was like his bloodline, they emerged from him. Unless the AI tampered with his body, it should never happen!
Draco tested out his Body of Godliness and was comforted to know that it remained perfect, with no limitation. It was only his Void of Control's ability to create a domain around him that had been weakened.
Draco used his Eyes of Caelo to see what was going on, and his face changed. There was a low concentration of the greenish-blue particles that constituted Worldly Energy, with more of them being the whitish ones that made up Divine Energy.
What shocked him though, was the small concentration of dark golden particles that moved slowly. These particles were followed by the whitish and greenish-blue ones like a young master and his sycophants.
Draco's heart shook because he could tell what those were. These particles were all Origin Energy, and they were as heavy as a ton of steel, despite seeming so small and so light.
Wait… could it be that…
Suddenly, Draco made a daring assumption.
Could it be that the Refinement God was not a True God… but an Origin God?