Chapter 57 – Knight Commander’s Quest (2)
On top of that, a skill bonus!
Hyun and Ain were used to receiving stats or skill points as bonuses, but that wasn’t the case with most users.
‘Can he really share a quest like this as if it were nothing?’
Jini’s thought deepened.
She had misunderstood him a couple of times, but that was probably the real him.
She was once again amazed by Hyun.
‘Even if he doesn’t care… I can’t just keep receiving!’
Even among Stardust members, Jini was famous for being fast and making calculations.
She could judge the situation very fast.
Once again, Jini made calculations very fast.
Even if the reward was good, maintaining a good relationship with Hyun was more important.
Then, what should she do next?
While Jini was thinking with her eyes closed, the Knight Commander continued his explanation.
“Have you ever heard about the Seed of Evil?”
They all shook their heads.
The Knight Commander nodded as if he were expecting that answer.
Then he kept explaining important things about the quest, so everyone focused their attention on him.
“The Seed of Evil refers to an entity. From that, a demon is born, and the forces of the Abyss receive strength because of it.”
“Seed… It’s a rather ominous word.”
“It’s ominous indeed. But because it’s a seed, it doesn’t show its true form on the outside. It usually hides its true appearance.”
The Commander took a deep breath and lowered his voice.
“According to the rumors, it usually takes the appearance of a little girl. It only shows its true colors in certain situations.”
‘A little girl…?’
Hyun’s eyes widened at that word.
“That’s right. The demon called Seed of Evil usually moves while looking like a little girl, so you wouldn’t notice her even if she’s walking mixed among normal human beings… But there’s one way to differentiate her.”
The more the Knight Commander’s explanation went on, Hyun began feeling uneasy.
The words ‘demon’ and ‘little girl’ made him remember the face of someone.
What the Knight Commander said next just confirmed that his worst fear was right.
“It’s borrowing the strength of the sun. The seed germinates and takes the form of evil under the sun. This is the message from the angels that the oracle told us. I’ve asked you to explore that place because we’ve received a piece of information that the Seed of Evil appeared at that place.”
Hyun’s foreboding was right.
The one the Knight Commander was talking about was Louise.
That’s right, since the first time he had seen Louise, she had a curse that made her avoid sunlight.
He wished it was just coincidence, but the probability of that was low.
Ain was surprised by Hyun’s sudden, stiff expression.
She didn’t ask him there, but he was making an expression she’d rarely seen him make despite the fact they hung out together all the time.
* * *
Hyun, Ain, Practice, and Jini.
Because it was an improvised party, after making simple preparations, they left to do the ‘Commander’s Quest.’
Since it was the weekend, the two that were part of Stardust could freely move.
“So the Seed of Evil…”
Even while moving to the quest’s place, Hyun’s mind was full of thoughts.
A few days ago…
No, in Asrian’s time, it was more than five years ago.
Louise, crying alone in the dungeon, had reminded him of a little animal who had lost her mother.
He still remembered how she asked him with a trembling voice to accompany her.
‘That girl is really a demon?’
Demons were pure evil and manipulative beings.
They felt no remorse after killing and enjoyed watching the world fall into chaos.
In Asra, the demons looked at humans with dichotomous eyes.
Humans that serve them and humans that don’t…
Most of those that served them were users that had chosen to side with the Abyss. There were also some weird NPCs, but that didn’t mean that they thought favorably about users that belonged to the Abyss.
The humans that served them were peons, and the rest were targets that must be killed.
The exact way to call a demon was probably the peak of all evil.
Because of Louise’s personality, it was hard to think of her as a demon.
‘Why are things getting so complicated…’
Compared to Asra, the quest’s content, settings, and goal were similar, but there were some differences.
Especially in things related to Louise. That was something that wasn’t in the previous game.
It seemed like, after the patch, the story of Asrian had begun to change.
The forces of the Abyss had become stronger, and the relation between the Heavens and the Abyss had worsened.
And on top of that, an NPC he hadn’t heard about had appeared, So it was different from the world he remembered.
He couldn’t understand what triggered such changes.
‘Even if I think about it, I probably won’t be able to find an answer.’
Even if he thought about the things that changed, thinking about the previous game probably wouldn’t help.
He could only use the past as a reference.
‘I’ll probably learn the truth if I see Louise once more…’
That’s right. He felt that, once he met Louise, the truth behind everything would be revealed.
Based on the Knight Commander’s explanation, he referred to Louise when he talked about the Seed of Evil… So if he followed the trays of the Seed, he would probably be able to find hits about Louise.
‘First, let’s focus on the quest.’
Hyun took the rest of the party and moved to where the quest indicated.
The place where the Knight Commander told them that the Seed of Evil was discovered was the Lulumea Mountain, which was near the north pole.
It was a place that was located thousands of kilometers away, so they had no other choice but to use teleport.
Snowstorms rage throughout the year in the outskirts of the polar region.
Moving to the place where the quest took place from the teleport gate wasn’t easy.
Not only were they in the middle of nowhere, but because there were lots of different monsters, they kept battling.
“I’m out of mana.”
Before they reached where the quest would take place, Ain smiled awkwardly and murmured.
The Close-Range Magician’s weakness!
The desperately huge Mana consumption rate had grabbed Ain’s ankle.
There was a reason behind why Hyun and Ain hadn’t hunted monsters for a while.
The Close-Range Magician was bad at farming monsters.
“Already? It’s only been 30 minutes since we started fighting…!”
Practice shouted in surprise while countering a monster’s attack.
Clang-! Jini, who was blocking a hairy goblin’s attack with Holy Magic, shouted.
The Ain that existed in Jini’s memories was someone who just annihilated users while laughing, but how was it that she was laughing because her Mana had plummeted?
“Can’t you fight without Mana?”
Jini started to feel uneasy at the sight of Ain nodding with confidence.
Hyun tried to defend her partner.
“Well, after all, Ain is also a Magician… So she can’t fight without Mana.”
“I see… I never thought that I, a priest, would have to be in charge of the party’s offensive.”
“I’ll leave the small fights to both of you. Ain and I aren’t suited to dealing with mobs.”
He could support them with «One Second Immortality», «Shield», and «Powerless Wave», but since the hunting speed didn’t increase that much, Hyun didn’t feel the need to participate.
Instead, they decided to guide the way.
But Hyun didn’t seem confident, he was looking around the snowy mountain.
“Hmm… Wasn’t it here…? It’s been too long, so I don’t remember it very well. Ain, do you remember?”
“If Hyun doesn’t know, neither I do.”
Ain shook her head.
The two members of Stardust just stayed still without being able to say anything.
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
How were things going to develop?
It seemed like they were lost.
“Oof… But it’s cold here.”
Practice, who had eliminated the nearby monsters, rubbed his hands because of the cold.
Jini was also suffering because of the strong chill.
There was a message in the status windows of both Stardust members.
[You’re feeling an extreme cold! All your movements have become 20% slower, and your HP recovering speed has decreased!]
Whish- Another gust of cold wind swept through where they were standing.
Practice was horrified at the cold weather of the north pole created by mother nature.
“Woah, this isn’t a joke! It feels like a typhoon was blowing in the middle of winter!”
It was a cold that was hard to experience even in real life.
Practice, who noticed Hyun and Ain’s clothes, was horrified.
“Oh my god, Hyun… Aren’t you cold while dressed like that? Ain too.”
The two seemed okay, although they were wearing very light clothes.
They looked completely different from him and Jini. Both of them were shaking because of the cold, although they were wearing thick clothes.
“Oh, this? It’s because of a title. That’s why Ain and I don’t feel cold.”
One of the effects of being a Heavenly Being was that they didn’t feel cold.
That was why both of them were okay, despite the extreme cold.
“A title like that… Truly amazing… No, I also want that…”
Jini, who was listening to the conversation, spoke while trembling because of the cold.
Practice also tried to rush Hyun because of the cold weather.
“You still haven’t found it? I feel like I’m about to die…!”
“Oh, I think I found it! It’s that way!”
Everyone ran toward where Hyun was pointing at.
They all wanted to clear the quest as soon as possible.
Whir- Thanks to Jini’s buff, they reached the destination very quickly.
“This… is the top of the mountain.”
“Judging by the crater’s shape, it seems like the volcanic activity stopped a long time ago.”
When they entered the basin-shaped place, there was no wind blowing, so even though it was cold, they were able to endure it.
Both members of Stardust had calmed down a lot.
Finally, the quest was about to start.
They were thinking that when Ain’s words made their heart sink.
“Hyun, are you sure it’s here? I think that it isn’t…”
Said Ain while looking around.
“This place is the ‘Ice Thorn Dungeon.’ Isn’t this an area where monsters over level 300 appear?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Jini and Practice, who were listening to Hyun and Ain’s conversation, opened their mouths in surprise.
“Hyun, wait. Wasn’t the place where our quest going to take place the ‘Evil’s Seed’ Dungeon that began from level 80?!”
It was just as Practice was saying.
There was no way someone as influential as a Knight Commander would send them to do a quest that they wouldn’t be able to beat, so it was improbable that he’d send them to a place where monsters over level 300 appeared.
Then, did that mean that Hyun had brought them to the wrong place and had them suffer in vain?
“Wait, don’t sit on the cold floor!”
“I can’t believe the former first ranker lost the way…”
“No, we aren’t lost. We came to the right place!”
Because the rest were starting to panic, Hyun began explaining.
“If you read the quest, you’ll see that it says that the reward will depend on the result.”
“Yes, it does say that.”
Practice nodded after reading the quest.
Hyun kept explaining.
“Our mission is to explore. What is the success while talking about exploring? First, we need to define that. In real life, that would be the amount of information you could find. But in a game, there must be a clear indicator.”
Hyun took a deep breath.
“It’s the travel distance.”
“Yes. The success depends on how deep you can go in the dungeon.”
Hyun’s explanation was something like this:
The most important thing in Asra or Asrian at ‘exploration’ quests was exploring as much of the map as possible.
Basically, the most effective way to clear them was trying to reach the end of the place.
“The ‘Evil’s Seed Dungeon’ is extremely long. The deeper you go, the harder it becomes. If we tried to do it in a normal way, it would probably take us a month or maybe even more.”
“It’s obvious that we can’t use that much time; that’s why we’re trying to take advantage of something. These two dungeons are connected through many passageways.”
Hyun took a deep breath and kept talking.
“We’re going to use this dungeon and take a passageway that will allow us to reach the end of the Evil’s Seed Dungeon!”
“Hyun, but this dungeon has monsters over level 300… Isn’t it going to be impossible from the beginning?”
Practice, who was listening to Hyun’s explanation, asked.
It was a reasonable question.
Jini was about to ask the same thing.
Instead of answering, Hyun looked at the sky.
He was waiting for the right moment.