Chapter 76 – The Duke’s Tournament (1)
The Heavens and The Abyss…
As the world was split into two factions, users had to decide the faction with whom they would side.
There was also the option of remaining neutral, but if you did that, you wouldn’t be able to receive the bonus that each faction gave. So most users ended up choosing to side with either one of them.
At first, the user’s rate was about seven to three. But as time went on, the number of users that belonged to the Abyss went down, and the rate was at eight to two.
The reason why most people chose the Heavens was because NPCs that belonged to that faction gave users a lot of support.
Of course, there were also NPCs in the Abyss that gave you quests.
But unlike the ones that belonged to the Heavens, who were very generous, the Abyss NPCs were quite picky regarding whom they gave their support.
The most famous NPC that belonged to the Abyss was the Duke.
The few users whom the Duke liked could receive support comparable to the ones that the Heavens gave.
Although a Duke was one of the noble titles, one day, followers of the Abyss began calling themselves Dukes. That’s why the meaning of that word had changed.
Because of that, the title of Duke was no longer used in the Heavens.
The word ‘Duke’ was used to describe people who had gained special powers after signing a contract with the devils.
Although they were humans, those people had surpassed the limits of an average person, and thanks to that, they occupied an important place within the ranks of the Abyss.
There were cases of NPCs who were a couple of hundred years old.
And compared to demons or monsters, they were more generous to humans.
The reason was that, from time to time, they gave their support to users.
‘It’s gonna be okay if it goes according to the plan.’
Hyun smiled after checking out the details of the quest.
The system message asked him to reach the Abyss Repository.
The Abyss Repository was a place that was normally forbidden to users. But if one had the support of the Duke, the story changed.
That’s right. The first step was getting close to the Duke.
“So this is the territory of the Abyss…”
「Yes, this is one of the few places where users that belong to the Abyss can step foot.」
Hyun and TarrTarr were at the place called Hates Valley.
It was a city that had two million people living in it. It was a place where people that belonged to the Abyss gathered in.
TarrTarr looked around, surprised.
“This is unexpected.”
“Because it’s a territory that belongs to the Abyss, I was expecting it to be like a creepy ghost town, a place where at night zombies came out, or a place with people fighting the entire day… But this looks rather normal.”
「I don’t know about zombies… But there are indeed people fighting the entire day.」
Without leaving time to enjoy the cityscape, Hyun kept walking toward somewhere.
Because TarrTarr didn’t have control priority, he moved along with Hyun.
“Where are we going?”
「To a place where there are fights all the time. It just happens to be today.」
[ <Search for the Traces of Evil> ]
– You’re lucky! There happens to be a festival in the Hates Valley!
– Soon, the 4th tournament organized by the Duke will take place!
– You must end within the top rankings! If the Duke recognizes you, maybe the road that leads to the Abyss Repository will open…?
Hyun opened the quest window so that TarrTarr could also see it.
The description of the quest had changed.
Asrian’s system told you about new milestones depending on the situation.
Following each milestone was the normal way to clear a quest.
「Yes, but it isn’t a place that can be accessed by most people.」
Just like the countries that belonged to the Heavens had their own social system, the ones that were part of the Abyss were also organized in a certain way.
How were the people that belonged to the Abyss maintaining the order of such a big organization without showing themselves?
One of the reasons was the existence of the Abyss Repository.
Because the place was just like the heart of the Duke’s holdings, its access was obviously forbidden to most users.
“Wouldn’t it be easier to defeat the person guarding the Repository and infiltrate it?”
「What kind of nonsense are you talking about…?」
Hyun shook his head.
「Do you know what level the Dukes are? There’s one whose level surpasses 400. That means he’s at the same level as the Knight Commander who gave us the quest. Do you think we will be able to damage them at all?」
“Not at all.”
After hearing that one of them was level 400, TarrTarr changed his opinion immediately.
He had barely surpassed level 60, so they were at a level that couldn’t even be compared to.
「We must pass the test and get recognized by them.」
「The Dukes… Yes, to put it simply. The attention of the Dukes is focused on the few users that can pass the survival test.」
「You don’t need to be afraid. It’s called survival, but in reality, no one dies. The tournament is also referred to as a festival.」
“Oof, that’s a relief.”
Both of them soon reached their destination.
Around the old and luxurious tower, there was a line of users.
After waiting five minutes, TarrTarr’s turn finally came.
It couldn’t be seen from a distance, but as they got closer, they saw that there was a teleportation magic circle inside the tower.
Someone with a black robe murmured after seeing TarrTarr.
“Did you come here to participate in the tournament?”
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As he nodded, the other person said something more.
“The back of your hand.”
TarrTarr extended his arm.
On the back of his hand, there was a fire symbolizing the Abyss.
“Okay, no problem. The cost is 50 gold.”
After receiving the money, the men lead them to the magic circle.
As he started chanting, a dark veil that appeared from the magic circle devoured them.
Suddenly, a completely different scenery was in front of them.
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
[You’ve entered room 147!]
It was an unfamiliar spacious place.
With a notification message, TarrTarr appeared in that place.
“Another person came!”
“He seems young.”
“Hmm… From the gear, he seems to be around level 50. Not bad, but he isn’t someone I should be wary about.”
“More than that, for how long are we going to wait? It’s already been a while!”
“Shut up, Luke. It’s going to start when the time comes…”
As he felt the people talking behind, TarrTarr’s eyes widened as he began exploring the surroundings.
What caught his attention first was a mana lamp that covered his entire field of vision.
Fluorescent fires were hanging on the ceiling and walls.
The fancy lights in a dark place made it look like an arcade.
It was as if they were in a modern world rather than a fantasy one.
TarrTarr was in awe after finding another thing.
In the corner of the place was a table that resembled one that you’d find in a bar.
And on the other side of it, instead of alcohol bottles, he could see lots of different items.
“This is also part of the Asrian lore, right?” TarrTarr murmured after looking at the modern furniture.
There were many luxurious tables and chairs, and there were also many unknown magical circles placed.
If Hyun had to pick somewhere similar to there, it would be the secret shop he’d gone to with Louise.
TarrTarr tried to think of a similar place he knew of within his knowledge.
“This place… Looks like a club? And a very fancy one.”
「Huh? How do you know that? Did you ever go to a club?」
“Of course not, but I’ve seen many of them in movies.”
「I guess that makes sense…?」
Suddenly, TarrTarr noticed something that was in the ceilings.
“Is that a CCTV?”
What TarrTarr’s fingers pointed to was a crystal device that worked with magical power.
That thing was rotating in all directions as if it were an eye.
Hyun quickly lowered his hands.
「It’s something similar, while inside here, you won’t be able to escape the sight of the Dukes.」
「They can also hear. So if it’s something you don’t want them to hear, say it via whisper.」
「How much free time do they have that they’re doing stuff like this?」
「Don’t you think you’d develop weird hobbies if you spent a couple of hundred years in a gloomy place?」
The waiting room was so big that it could comfortably host more than 500 people.
The users around them were spending their free time on the sofas that were placed everywhere.
The weird thing about the place was that there wasn’t any sort of door or window.
Basically, the room was perfectly enclosed.
「Rest for a little bit. It’s going to start soon.」
Hyun placed TarrTarr’s body on a sofa.
He glanced at the electric sign on the wall.
[ <Currently, there are ‘146923’ users participating!> ]
<Remaining time before the tournament starts: 314 seconds>
At the top of the lobby, the number of people participating was displayed.
「The number of users seems to be over a hundred thousand, yet there doesn’t seem to be many people around us. Why’s that?」
Hyun immediately replied to TarrTarr’s question.
「Realistically, there’s no way they’d put so many people in one place… Since this place is virtual, they can create thousands of these simultaneously. You go to school, right? Think of it as a classroom that has a certain number of students.」
“Looking for a party. I’m a level 53 Warrior!”
“Do you want to join us? Someone couldn’t come, and we’re currently at three!”
Before the tournament started, there were lots of people searching for partners.
But no one approached the young-looking TarrTarr. On top of his age, his items didn’t seem good, either.
A few moments later, all users focused their attention in one place.
A voice came out from the speakers that worked with magical power located throughout the room, and a screen that resembled those of a movie theater’s covered the stage.
[ <The 4th Tournament is Starting!> ]
A red fluorescent text appeared.
A creepy sound came out every time a letter appeared on the screen.
[ – Anyone can have the honor of becoming a Duke’s attendant as long as you can stand out! ]
– There are ‘151,831’ users that were gathered to receive the affection of the Dukes!
<Number of people participating in the 4th Tournament: 151,831>
“Ugh… A lot of people came.”
“Doesn’t it seem like the number of people participating increases each time?”
“I guess this means that the number of people confident in their skills has increased significantly.”
As the number of people participating appeared, the room became noisy.
The explanation on the screen kept going on despite that.
[ – Sadly, not everyone will receive the affection of the Dukes. You’ll receive the treatment you deserve based on your results. ]
<Rewards of the 4th Duke’s Tournament>
1 ~ 10th place: Duke’s Affection. (The rate depends on your ranking.)
11 ~ 100th place: Medal of Darkness x500, Demon’s Token 1
101st place ~ 0.5%: Medal of Darkness x200
0.5% ~ 3%: Medal of Darkness x80
3% ~ 10%: Medal of Darkness x30
10% ~ 20%: Medal of Darkness x12
20% ~ 30%: 100 gold
The list of rewards kept going from under the 30% marker.
A thousand medals of darkness could be exchanged for a unique item, and 200 could be exchanged for a rare one.
Also, a Demon’s Token was a currency above the medals.
“They say that you should dream big, so should I aim for the 100th place…?”
“I’m just going to aim for the top 10%.”
While users were talking about the rankings, the message kept going.
[We’re going to distribute the perks before the battle begins because it would be unfair if everyone started in the same place!]
A system message appeared in front of everyone.
It seemed like both TarrTarr and Hyun were considered as only one participant.
<Is your battle ranking above ‘Grand Master’? (Y/N)>
Hyun quickly answered.
TarrTarr speaking could cause him trouble.
[ <Are you within the top 1000 places in the Hall of Fame? (Y/N)> ]
<Last question. Is there any transcendent, either an angel or a demon, that recognizes you? (Y/N)>
Hyun thought about about that question.
If what he saw in that video was true, and Louise was indeed an angel… And if she still remembered him, this should be the correct answer.
[Checking out the world’s principle of causality…]
[It turned out to be true!]
[You’ve received an extra 1000 points!]
Suddenly, lots of coins began falling from an empty place that opened in the air.
Hyun was surprised by it and began looking around.
By how no one else reacted, it seemed only he could see the falling coins.
Hyun kept looking at the golden coins falling from the sky.