Chapter 50 – The Day One of the Veils Fell Off (5)
Pias had remained in the Master category because he wasn’t very interested in dueling, but because he was skillful, he could rank up whenever he wanted.
After all, he was the number 23 player in the Hall of Fame!
Until a few weeks prior, he had been in 9th place, but after dying and not being able to log in for two whole days, his rank had gone down.
[You’re currently ranked 999!]
He reached the Grand Master category after dueling for 30 minutes.
He had won 11 times and only lost twice!
Because the game’s tempo was so fast, even expert players died from time to time after making some mistakes.
The winning streak Pias was maintaining was actually very good.
‘Now, I just need to wait for her.’
Even though it was just another duel match, Pias’s heart was racing fast.
‘Is she really the girl from that day? Or is she not?’
Previously, he had said that both had a different fighting style, but the truth was that he wasn’t completely sure.
It was hard to believe that there were two users that had such a unique style.
‘I guess I’ll know the answer once I meet her!’
Two hours after reaching the Grand Master category, Pias faced an unexpected problem.
‘Why can’t I meet her…?’
After reaching the Grand Master category, Pias had fought more than 20 times, yet he hadn’t met anyone with the ID ‘Ain.’
A certain thought crossed his head.
‘Maybe, even though we’re both Grand Masters, the system matches you against others with a similar ranking?’
Currently, he was placed 972 in the rankings, but there was no way to know what her placement was.
No, actually, there was one way to know it.
「What is Ain’s current ranking?」Pias asked through the guild chatting window.
「969, but why? Haven’t you found her yet?」
Someone answered him immediately after checking the rankings.
He was confused.
They were almost at the same ranking, yet he wasn’t able to find her.
「She’s been at the 969 ranking for a while. Maybe she’s taking a rest?」
「Hey, it just changed!」
The moment Ain’s ranking changed, someone shouted through the guild chatting window.
「965th place! Start a match now!」
Pias immediately requested a new duel.
After reaching the Grand Master category, normally, it took 30 seconds to find a partner, but right then, an opponent had appeared a second later.
‘Was it a success?’
In front of Pias, a calm land covered by ice appeared.
The cold air gave him a few goosebumps.
After looking around, he saw an opponent.
…But the system message appeared first.
[vs. Ain (GrandMaster.157point)]
[The opponent has won 53 consecutive times!]
Pias’s mind lit up.
After seeing her, he immediately messaged through the guild chatting.
「I’ve met her!」
「What?! Turn on the stream!」
It was the strategy Darkness had decided just in case they met Ain.
If they made Pias start streaming, the rest of the guild could see what was happening in real-time.
XL, Reina, Mayday, Bear Shield, and other top members of Darkness entered Pias’s streaming.
After the stream began, the first thing that they could hear was Ain’s voice.
“I’ve met you before, right?”
The moment Ain mumbled those words, the chatting window of the guild went up a page.
「See? She’s the same Dark Priest!」
「You’re right. See how she remembers Pias’s face.」
「Try to make her join us. First, ask her if she’s part of any guild!」
「Everyone, calm down. I’ll be the only one talking.」
The Darkness Guild’s leader changed the permissions so that only he and the vice-leader could speak.
「Pias, first let her know that we have no desire to fight.」
Srng- Pias’s lance vanished.
He had changed to non-combat mode.
Ain looked at him strangely.
Pias opened his mouth before she made the first move.
“Wait, I’m not here to fight. We’ve been looking for you.”
“Looking for me?”
Ain looked at Pias with suspicious eyes.
She thought that no one would be looking for her except for Hyun, but there was a weird guy in front of him who suddenly appeared and said that, so she became a little bit interested.
“Hmm… What level are you?”
「Pias, you can’t ask things like that! That’s of bad manners. Say sorry to her!」
XL became angry because of what Pias had just said.
All the other members who were watching his stream grabbed their respective heads.
But soon, the atmosphere changed after hearing Ain’s answer.
Everyone was frozen by what Ain had just said regarding her level. Reina was the first one to come back to her senses.
「Don’t be fooled. She’s clearly lying! Hey Pias, try to fight her. Let’s see if she’s really level 67.」
「Reina, be quiet!」
XL intervened quickly.
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
He felt the need to have the possibility of muting even the vice leader.
「Of course, she wouldn’t reveal her real level. After all, she didn’t even put her name on the hall of fame. Stick to our plan and try to make her join us.」
But Pias wasn’t looking at the guild chat window.
He was just asking the questions he had on his mind.
That’s how shocked he was.
Pias and Ain were looking at each other, but somehow, he felt she wasn’t telling a lie.
“Are you really level 67? I’m having a hard time believing it.”
“You were the one who fought against us at that mountain, right? Did you get stronger thanks to a special quest?”
“I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”
“Then it doesn’t make even more sense. How can you be level 67 when you’re so strong?”
“It’s impossible!” Pias shouted.
After thinking about something, Ain asked a question.
“What level are you?”
“Hmm… Quite high.”
「Pias, I’ve told you that you should try to make her join us! Why are you talking about so much nonsense?」
Did XL’s shout reach the heavens?
Ain talked about their main topic first.
“I guess you’re asking me this… Because you want to invite me to your guild. Right?”
“Uh, yeah. That’s true, but…”
As the counterpart talked first about what he wanted, Pias couldn’t think of what to say next.
Then Ain said something more.
“I don’t want to.”
“You don’t want to?”
Pias was proud of being part of Darkness.
They hadn’t lost the number one position since the game opened its doors; they were by far the strongest guild.
He never thought she’d refuse so easily.
‘Is it possible that she doesn’t know about ‘Darkness’?’
Pias tried to explain again.
“If it’s you, you can give you all our support! Five pieces of equipment and three accessories. Eight items in total, all up to unique!”
「Yes, well done, Pias. First tell her what we can do for her. Maybe then we’ll be able to change her opinion.」
Suddenly, Ain interrupted Pias.
“Even so, you’re all weak.”
“Even if you call yourselves the strongest guild, I’m not really interested in joining in. And it’s probably a place full of rabble.”
Pias’s eyes sank deeply at Ain’s harsh words.
Maybe she hadn’t had any bad intentions, but Pias felt as if something inside him had been cut off.
“I’m going to cancel my previous words.”
Clang- As Pias changed to combat mode, a giant spear appeared around his hand.
“You probably won thanks to a quest bonus. Or did you think you’d stay in that place forever?”
Pias came out strongly, but Ain just replied with a snort.
She found it funny.
As long as Hyun was with her, there’s no way they would lose.
While fighting alongside him, she had never lost.
“I’m currently level 67. On top of that, I also have a penalty. You’re level 98, so why don’t you try to defeat me?”
“I was planning to do that even if you didn’t say it.”
“Hng, then things would get funny if I win. Right?”
「This… isn’t good.」
XL smiled bitterly while watching the stream.
He understood how Pias was feeling.
They couldn’t stay still after she made fun of Darkness.
Pias, just like him, was one of the founding members of Darkness, so they’d been together since the beginning.
He understood his feelings, so he couldn’t criticize him for his actions.
Although he wished he could control them a little bit better.
「Yes, that’s preferable. That vixen… I don’t like how she underestimates us. Pias, just destroy her!」
Reina came to support Pias.
「She probably thinks she’s some sort of king because she got lucky at the beginning. Later on, the difference between the users will narrow down! Ain? Good, I’ll remember that name!」
「What’s going to happen…」
XL let out an anxious moan.
From a standard point of view, what Pias and Reina said was true.
There was always the possibility that they had received help from the quest.
Even if there was a big difference at the moment, as time went on and the growth rate slowed down, the specs of the top-rated players would eventually get similar.
But then… why was it?
He was feeling uneasy.
Was he worrying too much?
‘If things were going to get like this… It probably should’ve been better not to have met her.’
That thought crossed XL’s mind.
With a scary atmosphere, Pias and Ain’s battle continued. And after a struggle, Pias ended up losing.
From an outsider’s perspective, it could’ve looked like a defeat by a narrow margin.
But everyone knew that the opponent had a 50% debuff on all her stats.
Even without help from the quest, she was on top of Pias.
It was the moment when she proved that she was a top-tier ranker.
After returning to the lobby, Pias couldn’t overcome his anger and hit the floor hard.
He could feel his eyes tearing up.
* * *
In SeoHyun’s room.
He spent most of his time sleeping while waiting for the penalty to end.
‘Is the server maintenance about to end?’
Luckily for him, his penalty ended at the same time the main story patch was over.
The patch would take two hours to be implemented.
Either way, SeoHyun wasn’t going to be able to log in, so he felt that the penalty was cut down by two hours.
‘I’m going to be able to log in as soon as the patch finishes!’
He spent the rest of the time on the computer.
The atmosphere of the users ahead of a large-scale patch was like the eve of a storm.
On the community boards, you could see some ex Asra players explaining the content that was about to be added.
Because there wasn’t any information on the official page, those types of threads became trending almost instantly.
Among the new things added, the biggest difference was related to the ‘forces.’
Most people were also asking questions related to that.
「What force should I choose?」
「Can we change forces later on?」
「Am I going to be left behind if I don’t choose a force? I’d like to play as neutral, just like I’ve been doing up until now…」
The story began five years in the future when the world had been split into two forces.
—The heavens and abyss.
If you picked either one of those, it was hard to change it later on. So just like the job hunting process, users had to be serious about it.
‘Should I log on?’
After looking at the time, he laid down on the capsule.
He had already thought about it, so he didn’t have doubts, unlike the rest.
Instead of going directly to the play screen, a word saying “loading” could be seen.
Once the update finished, the logo of NFM appeared and then disappeared.