Chapter 34 – Bifurcation (2)
The damage the Darkness Guild had received was huge.
Half of its members had died, and among those, there were the rankers that the guild was so proud of.
Pias, Bear Shield, and even the one they were most proud about, Mayday, had all died.
“I was too careless.”
The leader of the guild, XL, let out a sigh.
Since they were still at the early stages of the game, new powerful guilds appeared all the time.
Even after receiving a fatal blow, they hadn’t obtained anything, so their crown was at risk.
XL was starting to feel hopeless when the notification window popped out.
[You’ve cleared the quest!]
XL stood up at the unexpected notification.
What had happened?
They hadn’t been able to pass through the entrance. Not only that, but they had retreated before the enemy annihilated all of them.
Then… what was that clear message?
XL started to read the message received from the system.
[The rewards are going to be distributed based on contribution!]
1 – Mayday’s Party (Contribution Rate: 4%)
2 – Bear Shield’s Party (Contribution Rate: 1%)
3 – Pias’s Party (Contribution Rate: 0.2%)
“Huh, what’s happening?”
Reina, who had become a mess while escaping from the enemy, asked, confused.
No, most members of Darkness just blankly stared at the quest’s clear message.
They didn’t understand how it happened, but the quest was clear!
They had successfully cleared the quest because Hyun and Ain had killed the old man, but the members of the Darkness Guild had no way of knowing that.
“What happened? Did another guild come after us and successfully clear the quest?”
“Are you stupid? There’s no way that happened. There were only five minutes left before the quest ended.”
“Look! The skill points have increased!” Said one of the people that were in charge of long-range attacks in Mayday’s party.
“I’ll finally be able to upgrade my Energy Ball! Haha, although I don’t get it!”
“But how did the quest get cleared…?”
They were sure they had failed the quest, but somehow it ended up being cleared.
Members of Darkness went through the video many times, yet they couldn’t find the answer.
After 48 hours passed, they asked Pias, Bear Shield, and Mayday, but they reacted the same way.
“Huh?! We cleared the quest? Didn’t we fail?!”
“Oh! I leveled up!”
“There’s a weird item inside my inventory! What’s this? The Sword of the Sun…?”
They thought about it for a while, but no one could find an answer to the question.
* * *
—After the Count’s quest ended.
As soon as The Gamez ended the show, they uploaded the footage to YouTube.
The views of that video exploded as if it were the new music video of an idol group.
A few hours later, the video had subtitles from all kinds of languages.
<1st ranking Darkness guild, completely defeated! Are they going to lose their crown?!>
<South Korea’s pride ‘Myth’ destroyed!>
All gaming communities were full of news related to what had just happened.
[Since when is the Myth Guild the pride of Korea? Lol, they’re just a bunch of rich guys that like to flex their money.]
[I think that Darkness has taught us all a very important lesson… Think twice before accepting a quest with very good rewards… The difficulty is just ridiculous…]
Asrian-related communities were also very active.
The topic was related, of course, to the Count’s quest and the dark Priest.
One user even created statistics on their own.
<New Characters’ Jobs created in the last hour .jpg>
The person who created that thread had calculated the numbers by checking out the variations among the jobs that appeared on the official page.
They had taken a screenshot of the Korean new players’ statistics before and after an hour.
That thread soon became one of the most popular ones in the online community.
「What is a Priest, lol」
「Solving the low birth rate of the Priest job」
「What is a priest, lol」
「To the moon, hahaha」
The users were especially interested in topics related to the ‘Dark Priest.’
It was widely known that there was a Dark Priest option among the first possible job changes available for a Priest, but it had never received as much attention as then.
The Dark Priest became one of the topics in the search engines.
The Priest, which counted for just 5% of the player base, suddenly started to receive a lot of attention.
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「Guys… Don’t choose your job based on the current public opinion. The Dark Priest isn’t usually that strong. She probably has received some kind of buff, or she already completed the second job ascension.」
「The person above me is a level 50+ Priest」
「What a snake oil salesman, lol」
「No, I’m the world ranking 582 player, a level 65 Warrior. I was also an Asra Online player」
「Yeah, sure, and I’m Lattice」
“What’s wrong with these people? Talking with them is impossible, damn it.”
‘Steel Rock’ was the ranking 582, level 65 Warrior. At the same time, he had three years of experience playing Asra Online.
He grabbed his throbbing head while browsing the online communities at his home.
After discussing it with them for a while, he discovered that making them change their opinion based on logic and reasoning was impossible.
In the internet world, where users could remain anonymous, everyone and their brother was a ranker.
He decided to stop wasting his time on such meaningless tasks.
Steel Rock began watching that video once more.
He focused his attention on the Dark Priest.
Everyone had said that she was a Dark Priest, but he wasn’t so sure about it.
The skills and robes she used were very similar to those of a Dark Priest, but there were too many strange things that made him doubt.
“The damage output is too high, and her movements are too quick.”
And also, among the skills of the Dark Priest, there wasn’t one that consisted of a giant claw.
Of course, there was a possibility that she had learned a skill that wasn’t among the default ones, but he had a feeling that she wasn’t a Dark Priest.
“Hmm… She’s good.”
Steel Rock was amazed by what he saw in the video.
It didn’t matter how many times he had seen it—her movements were almost like a piece of art.
Watching her slaughter the opponents made him feel cathartic.
Suddenly, he felt a sense of Déjà Vu.
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
Her movements felt familiar.
Was it because he had seen the same video over and over again?
No, it wasn’t that.
He felt as if he’d seen those movements before.
He couldn’t get rid of the tickling sensation in his head.
He concentrated on the screen a little bit more.
The girl used the giant claws to slice the members of Darkness.
At that moment, he felt a thunder inside his head.
“Wait, don’t tell me…?!”
While trying to hold his breath, Steel Rock opened the ‘Asra’ folder and started looking through old videos.
Steel Rock had made a habit of recording his gameplay videos all the way from when he played Asra Online.
And among those videos, there were some in which he had formed a party with famous people or fought against them.
“No way… Really?”
He compared both videos side by side.
One was the Dark Priest, and the other one a werewolf.
For a moment, both steps matched perfectly for almost three seconds.
It was a unique way of moving that had feints mixed in.
Only one person moved in such a unique way in either Asra Online or even Asrian.
He felt as if the thread that had been entangled in his head was unraveling.
And then another question came to mind.
“Why is Ain a girl…?”
He watched closely and then shook his head.
“No, maybe that’s not a female character.”
Since Asrian Online was a virtual reality game, you couldn’t change the character’s gender, but you could customize it as you wished.
Maybe that was Ain, who was a boy with long hair…
“Oof, I have no idea!”
Then he started to doubt himself. Maybe his previous conclusion was wrong?
To get another opinion, he logged in to Asrian Online and looked out for someone.
—Level 66 Thief, Berard. He was also an Asra Online veteran with four years of experience.
「Didn’t you tell me that you were going to get some rest?」
As soon as Steel Rock logged in, Berard sent him a message.
「Well, it seems like you were also motivated by the video. Did you just see the video of Ain running wild?」
Steel Rock was surprised at what Berard had just told him.
He thought that he had discovered that thanks to how sharp he was, but Berard had just said what he had guessed as if it were nothing.
And unlike him, he seemed confident about the Dark Priest’s identity.
「You also knew about it? No, is that really Ain…?!」
「What are you talking about…? Say one thing at a time.」
After Steel Rock had calmed down, Berard started to explain.
「Of course. There’s no way I wouldn’t recognize Ain. She defeated me in PvP countless times… That’s why I remember all of her movements. The moment I saw that live stream, I knew she was Ain.」
「But this is ridiculous. Was Ain a girl? I thought Ain was a rough berserker.」
「Why are you so surprised? Why couldn’t Ain be a girl? But that’s not the problem here.」
Berard lowered his tone of voice.
「All former top rankers in Asra Online are growing at an extremely fast pace, even here. It isn’t just Ain. A couple more people I knew are also growing very fast.」
「Well, that’s expected…」
「No, they’re growing faster than what you’re imagining. In this game, the information you have can help you grow way faster than you think.」
Berard’s words were quite credible. After all, he was once ranked 5th in Asra Online.
Since Steel Rock couldn’t break into the top 30, he listened carefully to what Berard said.
「Ain probably started playing at the same time with us, but right now, she’s incredibly strong. What do you think that means?」
Even in Asra Online, Ain was one of the players whose rankings varied a lot.
One day, she would be pushed out of the top 10, but on another day, she would suddenly reach 2nd place in the rankings.
That meant that, although she didn’t log in frequently, she could always reach 2nd place in the rankings if she wished to.
Especially in PvP—everyone who played Asra Online agreed that she was by far the strongest at duels.
But in Asra Online, there was someone more famous than Ain.
—Someone who had kept the number one position for many years.
That name came out of Berard’s mouth.
「If ‘Hyun’ started playing Asrian Online, how strong do you think he would be?」
Steel Rock suddenly felt goosebumps.
The overwhelming 1st place in the rankings, Hyun.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that he was unrivaled.
It would be too simple to say that he was good at controlling the character…
He was simply the best at playing.
His gaming sense was simply different from other people.
No one understood why someone like him played a game like Asra Online.
He had forgotten about him because his name didn’t appear in the hall of fame.
「Is he also playing Asrian?」
「I’m sure he is.」
「But his name isn’t in the hall of fame?」
「You idiot, he just didn’t register in the hall of fame! Ain also doesn’t appear in it.」
Berard hadn’t finished talking yet.
「If Hyun and Ain met… Can you imagine what would happen?」
Steel Rock couldn’t close his mouth for a while.
When he thought about it, he remembered that they often hung out together.
To be more precise, Ain followed Hyun around and asked him to duel her. Although they had formed a party to hunt or complete quests from time to time.
Remembering how they cleared seemingly impossible quests gave him goosebumps.
「Although it seems they’re playing separately for the moment.」
「Let’s go hunting.」Steel Rock suddenly mumbled.
Berard started laughing.
「Yeah. We also need to grow faster, right?」
Berard and Steel Rock began preparations for hunting.
There wasn’t time to rest if they didn’t want to suffer the same humiliation from the previous game.