Chapter 158 – Skirmish (1)
From time to time, Hyun looked out of the window and was impressed by what he saw.
‘How did they do that?’
From a certain point onward, the town became surrounded by walls.
The users from the Abyss were fighting from the top of the castle walls. Although the walls broke from time to time, they recovered surprisingly quickly.
‘Do people already have the Architect job?’
There were almost no Architect-type users in Asra.
Something that would take years to build in real life could be built in only a few hours… He knew it was a game but couldn’t help but be impressed by it.
‘It hasn’t been penetrated yet.’
From a distance, it was impossible to know who was from the Abyss and who was from the Heavens.
He was only guessing that the ones who died around the castle walls were Heavens users.
Although it looked dangerous… seeing how the town hadn’t been invaded yet, that probably meant that the Abyss was able to resist.
‘Things are starting to get dangerous. I hope Ain returns quickly…’
Hyun felt that the momentum of the battle was leaning.
Why was it changing?
Skillful rankers had started appearing among the Heavens players.
In the first place, there weren’t many Abyss users compared to Heavens.
But from a certain point, players that used ‘ascension skills’ had increased.
If it kept going on, the balance would soon be broken.
Hyun was looking at the clock anxiously when he finally received the message he was desperately waiting for.
[‘Ain’ has logged in!]
She’d arrived 40 minutes later than the promised time.
It was Saturday at 10 o’clock in Korea. Ain looked sleepy.
“Hey, you’re too late…!”
“But this isn’t when I’m usually on.”
Hyun smiled bitterly at Ain’s answer.
When he thought about it, Ain never logged in early in the morning, even on weekends.
She was in 2nd year of high school, right? How was she paying attention to classes?
He began worrying about her life pattern… but he wasn’t much different from her, so he decided not to worry about meaningless things.
An important battle was about to happen, so he couldn’t afford to think about other things.
“Is your condition okay?”
“I… might make a lot of mistakes…”
Ain answered honestly.
“So Hyun, do what you want with my body.”
“Ahh… Okay, but tell me what happens around us.”
“That much… Hmm… I think it’s going to be okay.”
They’d played together for such a long time that Hyun knew Ain’s change in condition better than anyone.
When she was in peak condition, Ain sometimes showed a controlling ability beyond human capabilities… but when she couldn’t concentrate, there were cases in which she was even hit by attacks from average users.
That’s why he didn’t expect much from her late at night or early in the morning.
‘It’s okay. It isn’t a one-on-one at the moment.’
Ain’s playing style was specialized in dueling.
Even if both were PvP, if it were one vs. numerous enemies, it would be better if he were in charge.
The moment he «Assimilated», he felt a familiar sensation.
It was funny. To think that the day when he would feel safe while being inside a woman’s body would come… But still, it would be better if he were careful.
“As expected… You’re most used to my body, right…?” Ain mumbled. She’d read his thoughts through «Assimilation».
「If you have time to say things like that, come back to your senses…」
Hyun almost lost focus because of that comment, so he decided to ignore that type of thing.
“Ugh… Hyun, where… Ah, you’re inside Ain’s body.”
Louise woke up from the noise.
Hyun repeated himself.
“Remember what I told you? If something happens, leave the inn. If you’re in trouble, use the scroll.”
“Yes, I remember.”
“Then, watch from here.”
Louise could be of great help.
But still, Hyun concluded that it would be better if he didn’t let her out.
The Heavens were probably looking for the Darkness. Nothing good would happen if they saw Louise.
“I’ll be back soon.”
Only he and Ain would fight.
As soon as they walked out of the soundproof magic circle, they heard a loud noise.
‘It’s a bit bothersome.’
Hyun reduced the volume to half.
The loud noise could interfere with the other senses. Changing the settings to increase their concentration was one of the strategies they often used.
「Are you going to change the settings?」
「What about the plan?」
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「I thought about it while you were sleeping. Trust me.」
Hyun could feel that Ain was breathing irregularly after listening to his answer.
After a while, Ain mumbled in a low voice.
「Even if it weren’t morning… I don’t think I would’ve been able to concentrate.」
「What do you mean?」
「I… Just want to stay like this.」
「That’s what we said we would do.」
Hyun tilted his head in confusion.
Was it because of the ‘Blessing of Darkness’? The last time he’d used that skill, she’d also acted strangely.
They would have to fight soon, so Hyun decided not to think about other things.
[Remaining time before the road that leads to the Ruins of Darkness opens: 2 hours 28 minutes]
If he wanted to go to the Ruins of Darkness, he had to wait until the fog cleared.
There were two and a half hours left. He had to kill all of the Heavens users that had gathered around the area.
‘We have the advantage.’
Ain’s specs with «Assimilation» couldn’t be compared to the rankers.
Even without «Assimilation», except for Ain, there probably wasn’t any user who could face him.
He was confident he could face tens of thousands of enemies as long as he wasn’t put under an abnormal status condition.
‘It was most dangerous around this area.’
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
Hyun was thinking of blocking only the direction in which the fog was the lightest.
All of the other areas could probably be blocked by the other Abyss users.
Hyun crossed the walls and left the town. He hid between the shadows of the hill and the fog.
Since the black sun was shining with more intensity, the shadows were getting thicker.
It was the perfect weather for the pitch-black Ain to hide.
Hyun looked at the Heavens users that were walking toward the town.
‘That guy seems to be around level 100… And also that guy… Aren’t there any rankers among them?’
The Heavens users invaded the Symmetrical World in parties or as parts of guilds.
Hyun knew the faces of most of the top rankers, but there weren’t any familiar faces among them.
A deep smile appeared on Ain’s face.
‘This is going to be easy.’
Hyun was planning to kill the Priest or Magician if it were a party. Against a guild, he would kill the person who looked like the leader.
If he dragged too much attention, there was a chance he would receive numerous debuffs.
If he killed the most important people, the Heavens would inevitably become weaker.
「Keep an eye on where the fog is. We’ll be in trouble if we get locked out by it.」
「Huh…? O-of course…!」
Hyun clicked his tongue at the slow reaction.
It seemed like Ain’s status wasn’t optimal yet.
Even just keeping an eye on things, she might make a mistake, so he had to be careful.
The goal was to resist the attack of the Heavens users for two and a half hours.
Hyun’s quickly-moving vision looked at the enemy’s front line.
Hyun, who was hidden in the dark, jumped out after he finished thinking about the plan.
* * *
The news that Heavens and the Abyss users received opposing quests quickly spread through the communities.
As the quest details were revealed and it became public that the prize would be a legendary item, the communities became shocked.
…But there weren’t many users willing to participate in it.
The reason was simple:
– All those that have gone until now have died, right?
– None of the rankers went, lol. If you go, you won’t be able to return. This is just a suicide quest, lol.
– If you die, you won’t be able to enter for 48 hours. Who in their right mind would go…? It isn’t like you’re guaranteed a reward.
– You either get a huge reward or nothing. This is a lottery, basically. LOL
– I can’t even go!
The Heavens’ boards were full of complaints.
To participate in the quest, you had to be prepared to die, but to make things worse, there was a level restriction.
There were also many complaints among Abyss users.
– To participate, you need to get a Duke’s recognition? What’s the % of users who have managed to do that?
– It’s impossible unless you’re in the top 0.1%
A quest you had no right to participate in unless you had a good relationship with a Duke…
But the good thing was that users of the Abyss had a way to return alive.
—Although that didn’t matter to the average user.
– Of course, the conditions to participate are going to be harsh. There are many users in Asrian. If everyone gathered around a town, it would explode.
– That makes sense. After all, it isn’t a city but a town.
In the end, the Black Town’s Quest received a lot of attention, but not many people participated in it.
For the Heavens users, it was a trap quest, and most of the Abyss users couldn’t participate even if they wanted to.
But there were always those who thought differently from others.
The famous streamer, ‘Lilybell.’
She was a Heavens user. Although she wasn’t a ranker, she once became one of the top 30 streamers on a famous streaming platform because of her unique sense of humor. Lilybell had a different way of thinking.
“Fufufu. Black Town’s Quest… I’ll go!”
Of course, the viewers tried to stop her from going to a battlefield she couldn’t return from.
“There’s a way to win this quest easily!”
Everyone found what she said suspicious.
While the chat window was covered with question marks, she put the quest on the screen and began speaking.
“Everyone, read the quest goal! According to the information, you just have to enter the town! If you can pass through the town, you can easily enter the top 10 in contribution rate and obtain a unique-rank item. See?”
The contribution system was complex, but what was certain was that the team that managed to advance would receive huge benefits.
According to numerous reports, the Heavens had been gaining the advantage since a few hours prior.
What if you entered it a few hours before the battle ended?
If you were lucky, wouldn’t you be able to become the first one to enter the town?
Most people thought that it was a ridiculous plan.
Until then, Asrian’s quests hadn’t been generous to users trying to gain an advantage using strategies like that.
– If you do that, you’ll get a 0 contribution rate.
– Two days of vacation.
Usually, Lilybell would’ve been wrong, but she wasn’t wrong that time.
What the Holy Kingdom wanted was information! The reason why they’d put a ‘View Share’ magic on the users was to obtain information, so seeing something new would definitely count toward the contribution rate.
“I’m at exactly level 80. I perfectly fulfill the conditions. Isn’t this a sign that’s saying I should do the quest? Then, I’ll be going!”
– Wait, she’s really going to do it?
– Stupid, lol.
– I’m going to follow you!
“You’re also willing to offer your body for the Heavens.”
She used teleporters consecutively and reached a certain place.
Before the quest began, the Priest gave Lilybell all sorts of blessings.
No one noticed that, among the blessings, there was a «View Share» magic.
“Even if you feel you’re in the depths of hell, don’t be scared and keep advancing. In the place where hell ends, there will be the protection of Light.”
The moment her body was covered with a complex magic circle…
The ten thousand viewers watching her saw a world with a black sun and red air.
“So this is the Black Town… It’s definitely dark here!”
Of course, save for very few users, most people didn’t realize it was a place called the Symmetrical World.
While the chat window was covered with messages like ‘Woah’ or ‘What the…’ a message appeared in front of Lilybell.
[Advance quickly before you get devoured by the fog.]