“Are you certain that Gongzi You was telling the truth?” that was the first sentence that was uttered by Silent Hymn when he recovered from the shock. Mithril is a valuable strategic resource that had no price in the current stage of the game. But what about the future? Nobody knows. Having control over the Mithril ore vein would mean that Genesis had an absolute advantage in the later stages of the game. Silent Hymn knew that Gongzi You have knowledge about such a fact as well. Since she knew the importance of Mithril… Why did she reveal this secret to Absalom?
“There’s no reason for her to lie, but I’m not entirely sure about it either.” Absalom voiced out his concern, “Good things don’t just randomly fall on somebody’s lap. I’m just amazed that it actually happened to me.”
“Why did you not question her about it?” Silent Hymn’s thoughts were in a disarray. It all felt so unreal to him.
“Is there even a need for that?” Absalom sighed, “She was caught by Fleeting Time. She had to show some good faith to avoid death. Her life depends on the ore vein. And there’s something else she said that I believe.”
“What is it?”
“Golden Era is coming, and we must be prepared for the storm. Can the eggs remain unbroken when the nest was overturned?” Absalom pursed his lips. It was apparent that he was troubled by the matter.
Silent Hymn gave Absalom’s words a long moment of thought. Indeed, under the circumstances, Absalom’s decision was the best course of action. Gongzi You would definitely die if she lied to them. Although her death was only a few additional Kill Glory to Genesis, it was a huge lost for Gongzi You herself. She was not an idiot, which was why she would never do such a thing. If she was telling the truth, this meant that Genesis would gain control of a Mithril ore vein, and gained a powerful ally in the Eastern Continent that was also in control of a Mithril ore vein. This would give them an edge against Golden Era in the future.
The only price Genesis would have to pay was 7 days’ worth of supplies. They would not be at a loss even if Gongzi You was lying.
“So what do we do now?”
“Gongzi You is definitely here to complete a quest. If that’s not the case, there’s no way she would willingly subject herself to Fleeting Time’s surveillance. We can be sure that there will be no attacks from the Eastern Continent at this time, so there’s no need to notify the other guilds about this. Gongzi You’s quest is a time sensitive one, and she gave herself 7 days to complete the quest. She gave me the coordinates of the Mithril ore vein, and she told me that the place would remain as a normal mountain range unless we triggered a certain quest. We do not have information about the quest. How do I find the quest within seven days? What should we do if we can’t find locate the quest giver before Gongzi You leaves the Western Continent? Unless we know her in real life, there’s no way we can get into contact with her after she returns to the Eastern Continent. She’ll never allow us to contact her in real life.”
Absalom explained his worries to Silent Hymn, who began his own train of thoughts as well. Gongzi You might look like the one who was at the less favorable end of the deal, but things might not be what they appeared to be. The escort they had to send to keep watch on Gongzi You was like a protection for her, and their actions of supplying her with arrows and consumable would solve her problems with resupplying in the Western Continent. There was also the fact that the quest to unlock the Mithril ore vein might be very hard to complete even if she was telling the truth. Silent Hymn was sure that the initial quest to trigger a resource so valuable would never be easy. Gongzi You would only be staying in the Western Continent in a limited timeframe, and there was nothing Genesis could stop her from returning to the Eastern Continent after her quest was completed. If they could not locate the quest giver in time, who would they be able to ask for the location of the quest giver?
Silent Hymn let out a long sigh and grimaced, “Gongzi You is not a simple person. She placed a big bait in front of us, but we could do nothing but to take the bait.”
“Yeah.” Absalom’s head was aching, “We’re lucky that Fleeting Time is the one who is keeping watch on her. She won’t be able to deal with him that easily, so we don’t have to worry about her for now. If it’s somebody else, even I will not know how things will turn out.”
“Fleeting Time is with her?” Silent Hymn was shocked, “You arranged for that?”
Absalom snorted, “I’m not exactly willing.”
“What do you mean?” Silent Hymn was puzzled, “Did Fleeting Time volunteered for it or something?”
“He did not exactly say it out loud, but he was hinting at it. If I don’t go according to his wishes… He’ll definitely beat the shit out of me.” Absalom expressed his resentment.
“Why does it feel like a scandal will happen whenever Fleeting Time is involved…” Silent Hymn rubbed his chins.
“You said as if Fleeting Time’s a pervert…” if Fleeting Time heard his words, Silent Hymn would not live to see the next morning.
“Ahh… I’m just saying that he seems to be in a good mood these days.” Silent Hymn shook his head immediately, “Since he’s with Gongzi You, let’s just give him the chance to take one for the team. I’m sure he can help us in the effort to gain more information from Gongzi You.”
Absalom snorted and then chuckled at Silent Hymn. It was apparent that he agreed with the vice leader’s words.
Fleeting Time was resting in the palace courtyard with Ye Ci when he received a voice call from Absalom, much to his annoyance, “What is it? Stop wasting my time.”
“Aiya! The chat actually connected! Are you busy just now? What were you doing? Is it that thing? Damn, you’re fast…”
“You can just tell me if you want to die, Absalom. I don’t mind lending you a hand.” Absalom’s creased his eyebrows when he heard the malice in Fleeting Time’s voice.
“No, no, no, no, no! I’m sorry! But there’s really something that I want to talk to you about.” Absalom would of course not pull a senseless joke on Fleeting Time at a time like this. He was the key to the badger game that Genesis set up for Gongzi You (of course, Fleeting Time himself was not aware of such a fact…) It would not be wise for him to infuriate Fleeting Time, “Can you ask Gongzi You about the initiation quest to unlock the Mithril ore vein?”
Despite his annoyance at Absalom’s (something like “act of disturbing him”), Fleeting Time immediately relayed his question to Ye Ci the moment Mithril was involved. Ye Ci took a bite from the apple in her hand, and narrowed her eyes. She then replied earnestly after a brief moment of thought, “I don’t know.”
“Eh?” Fleeting Time was surprised by Ye Ci’s response, but he could tell that she was not lying from her expression, “Then how did you…”
“I found it by chance in the Eastern Continent.” Ye Ci sighed, “It’s hidden very well, and could be easily missed by someone who is not observant.”
“Can you elaborate? Give us a hint or something.” asked Fleeting Time after a moment of thought.
“A hint…” said Ye Ci after a long pause, “Ahh… Talk to all the NPCs you can find in the map, and clear any and all of their quests. Pay close attention to any Dwarves in that area. The quest giver in the Eastern Continent is a Black Iron Dwarf, but I’m not sure which NPC is the quest giver in the Western Continent. However, according to the books in the National Library, the Dwarves are the only race across all the continents that have the capability to locate Mithril. So… Keep and eye out for any Dwarves.”
“So it’s an open quest?” as a veteran, Fleetng Time could guess the nature of the quest after listening to Ye Ci’s words.
“Yes, it is.” with her mind made to form an alliance with Genesis, there was no need for Ye Ci to beat around the bush. The information that she provided was beneficial to her allies.
“Alright, understood.” said Fleeting Time with a smile, “Thank you.”
It doesn’t sound like something this shameless Fleeting Time would say. Ye Ci was momentarily stunned. The ghost of a smile then formed on her lips, come to think of it, this guy is not that much of a nuisance after all.
“Clear all the quests in the map, and pay attention to any Dwarves you see. The person who is searching for the quest must be observant and have been to the National Library and have read all the books there.” Fleeting Time summarized Ye Ci’s words for Absalom.
“Ahh… Gongzi You told you all that?” Absalom did not expect the sudden flow of information.
“Yup.” Fleeting Time was slightly puzzled by Absalom’s apparent surprise. Then again, as players of opposing continents, it was normal for him to doubt Gongzi You’s words.
Even when he knew that Gongzi You’s honesty was due to the alliance between their guilds, he could not hold himself back from blurting out the words, “Have you managed to take down Gongzi You? Why would she tell you such a secret…”
“What did you say?” Fleeting Time did not hear Absalom’s mumbling.
Absalom did not have the courage to repeat his sentence, “It’s nothing, it’s nothing. I’ll be on my way to locate the ore vein. You take good care of Gongzi You. See ya.” and he immediately disconnected from the voice chat after his hushed reply.
“Is Absalom on his way to look for the quest?” Ye Ci narrowed her eyes.
“Yup.” Fleeting Time stared at the sly grin on Ye Ci’s face and smiled, “Do you have anything to say to them?”
Ye Ci pursed her lips, “Good luck.”
Fleeting Time let out a hearty laugh. It was as if the welfare of Absalom was none of his concern.
Ye Ci raised her eyebrows, “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing, I’m just imagining Absalom’s expression when I relayed your message to him.” Fleeting Time answered truthfully.
Ye Ci did not expect the response, “I thought you’d be angry.”
“Why would I be angry? Let’s be real here, I like getting that idiot Absalom into trouble.” said Fleeting Time with a smile as he leaned against his tank.
“You’re calling him an idiot?”
“Is he not? He’s an idiot who would always clean up the mess that I caused.” replied Fleeting Time with a warm smile. Despite his words, Ye Ci could feel that he cherished his friendship with Absalom.
I’m so envious of their friendship.
The monsters in a dungeon would not respawn. The palace courtyard became quiet after Ye Ci and Fleeting Time have cleared the way the mobs of monsters in the place. There was nothing left other than the corpses of slain monsters.
“The drop rate of gems in this place is high.” Fleeting Time was able to obtain almost a hundred gems from the corpses.
“It’s a shame that I won’t be able to take these gems back with me.” with the absence of High tier tailors in the current stage of the game, there was no high level backpacks in the market. This means that Ye Ci’s inventory slot was very limited.
“You can hand them to me. I’ll merge them for you in the Light Saint City and give them back to you.” suggested Fleeting Time. 20 gems of the same kind would take up a slot in Ye Ci’s inventory. It would be a waste of space for Ye Ci to have so many low level gems in her inventory. She was not able to gain access to Light Saint City, which meant that she could only merge the gems when she was back in the Champion City of the Eastern Continent.
Ye Ci shook her head, “It would be too expensive to merge these gems. I’m broke now. I don’t have the money for that.”
She was telling the truth. Ye Ci’s bank account was left empty after her purchase of the two houses. The rent of her properties in Red Lake City and her salary from Upwards Ho! would not be banked into her account in the near future, and she could not access her mail to collect the money she made by selling items in the Auction House as she was in the Western Continent.
“Why are we talking about money? It’s harmful to our relationship.” Fleeting Time pursed his lips.
“Don’t talk about relations with me. It’ll hurt your coffers.” Ye Ci rolled her eyes, “How bout this.. You can have any gems you want from the batch that you’ve merged for me!” said Ye Ci after a slight pause.
Ye Ci raised her eyebrows when she noticed Fleeting Time’s stare, “What are you looking at? Is there something on my face?”
“No.” Fleeting Time shook his head, “But is it that hard to accept my hospitality as a host?”
“Your money doesn’t just appear out of thin air. Besides, I don’t like to owe people favors.” said Ye Ci as she passed the gems to Fleeting Time. She continued after noticing the raised eyebrows of Fleeting Time, “I told you that relations will hurt one’s coffers. Owing someone will hurt my coffers the most, and I’m broke now. So…”
Fleeting Time chuckled, and took a few gems from the small sack handed to him by Ye Ci, “Alright then, I’ll take these as payment for merging the gems for you.”
The duo headed to the southern corner of the courtyard after looting the corpses. A lvl62 Undead Captain was guarding Nicky’s bag. If either one of them was alone, the Elite monster would be something that was hard to deal with. But it was not a challenge at all to Ye Ci and Fleeting Time. The Undead Captain was a melee monster, which meant that the duo could simply kite it to death.
Fleeting Time took the first move, and attracted the aggro of the Undead Captain with some of his abilities. Ye Ci then took over the aggro from the Undead Captain from another direction, and the monster turned around and charged at Ye Ci before it could reach Fleeting Time. Just before the monster could get within attack range, Fleeting Time took over the aggro, and the monster turned around once again. The process was repeated again and again by Ye Ci and Fleeting Time.
Under normal circumstances, a pair of Hunters that were kiting a monster would have to constantly reposition themselves to avoid damage. But the two top-tier Hunters did not even have to move from their original spot. They were able to time their skills and control the aggro perfectly, which made the fight extremely boring to the duo.
The Undead Captain was aggrieved. As a lvl62 Elite monster, it could be counted as a mini BOSS. To be kited to death by to puny Hunters… You’ve gotta be kidding me!
After 10 minutes of painful struggle, the Undead Captain dropped dead onto the ground with a shriek. Its life was ended at the hands of two very shameless Hunters. Unfair! This is so unfair! I didn’t even manage to get into attack range! This must have been the Undead Captain’s final thoughts before its demise.
Despite its bountiful loot drops, the Undead Captain yielded nothing for the Hunter class. With her limited inventory space, Ye Ci could only choose some of the more valuable items, and leave the rest for Fleeting Time. The duo was able to recover Nicky’s belongings after defeating the Undead Captain. It was an old, worn bag that seemed to be filled with items. However, neither Ye Ci nor Fleeting Time was able to open the bag despite their curiosity as it was a quest item.
The duo immediately headed back to Nicky through the streets, safely avoiding Orcish patrols with the aid of the Goblin Compass.
“Ohh.. Look at that!” said Nicky as he received the bag. He cradled the bag in his arms and rubbed his face all over the bag, as if it was his lover, “My precious, my darling! You’ve recovered it!”
Nicky began blabbering at Fleeting Time happily. Ye Ci, however, stared at Nicky with a bored expression. The quest was accepted by Fleeting Time, which meant that Ye Ci had no idea about its progress. Nicky was apparently acting friendlier to Fleeting Time, but was ignoring Ye Ci. He would only nod at Ye Ci when spoken to.
“Alright, Elf, let me help you out as my thanks to you and your companion.” said Nicky to Fleeting Time. His great mechanical skill is not the only thing that made him the top player of the Western Continent.
It was the same for every other top-tier player. Aside from their good mechanical skills, top-tier players were also more observant that the average player. In a time when VRMMORPG has officially taken over the market from traditional MMORPGs, players needed to be more observant to detect the tiniest of hint about hidden quests that were usually bountiful. Luck was not the only factor in discovering a hidden quest. An observant player would always be rewarded by the game. This was why a player’s capabilities was also measured by his or her level of observance as well.
Even then, a player who discovered a hidden quest might not be observant enough to discover the bits and pieces of information that could lead to an even greater reward. It depended entirely on how perceptive a player was, and how good the player’s luck was.
As a top-tier player, Ye Ci possessed a good observation skill, and Fleeting Time could be said to be the same. Despite her lack of interest in the conversation between Nicky and Fleeting Time, Ye Ci still paid close attention to the interaction between Fleeting Time and the NPC. She noticed that Fleeting Time adopted an entirely different way in dealing with hidden quests and any NPCs related to the quest.
While Ye Ci’s method of appealing to an NPCs emotions was hard, it was a safer way as it would never offend any NPCs in the game. Fleeting Time, however, was able to extract the most information out of a conversation with NPCs. It was quick and effective, but it also depended on how a person would handle the situation. After all, high level NPCs were intelligent beings, and a failed attempt to trick them into revealing certain information might leave a bad impression of the player.
However, Fleeting Time was a naturally charismatic person. He was able to secure a quick friendship with Nicky. Ye Ci did not even have to look at Nicky’s stats to know that he had a high intimacy level with Fleeting Time.
This world is not friendly to honest people. mused Ye Ci as she stared at Fleeting Time and Nicky. Honest people like me suffered a life full of hardship because of people like Fleeting Time. thought Ye Ci to herself as she wiped away imaginary tears.
Fleeting Time was able to reach an agreement with Nicky when Ye Ci was still immesed in her own thoughts. From the smile on their faces, it was apparent that both parties were satisfied with the agreement.
“Nicky is a Goblin mailman. He promised to help deliver things to the outer world before we complete the exploration of this dungeon,” said Fleeting Time with a smile, “You don’t have to worry about your limited inventory space anymore. You can dump all the items to Absalom and get him to sell them in the Auction House for you or send them all back to your friends in the Eastern Continent.” said Fleeting Time when he noticed Ye Ci’s shocked expression, “I think your best option is to hand your items to Absalom. You’ll be able to return to the Eastern Continent with a pocket full of money, and it won’t take up much of your inventory slot.”
“A mailman? How do you know?” Ye Ci had a feeling that Fleeting Time have discovered something.
“Ah, there was a sign at the entrance of the place that you were hiding in earlier on written in Ancient Goblin Language, and it says that the place is a post office. I was able to confirm indirectly from that Goblin that he was a mailman from our conversation. Since he’s a mailman, I figured that the reward of completing his quest must be some sort of channel to communicate with the outside world. It seems that my guess is correct.” Fleeting Time shrugged.
Ye Ci knew that despite Fleeting Time’s nonchalant attitude, his was able to make such a judgement only because of his gaming experience and observant nature.
“Why did you choose such a reward?” Ye Ci was puzzled. She knew that Nicky’s mail delivery service was not the only reward offered to Fleeting Time. But why would he choose something so trivial as his reward?
“Heh, it’s just me being lazy. It’s too much of a bother to keep entering and leaving the dungeon.” said Fleeting Time with a grin as he turned around and walked towards Nicky, “Alright, I’ll send some stuff to Absalom, and get him to send up some supplies as well.”
Ye Ci was momentarily stunned, and a sliver of warmth crept into her heart.
What a liar.
Is it troublesome for him to resupply in the Western Continent even when he has to constantly leave the dungeon? Nope. Not at all. As long as Ye Ci was in the dungeon, Fleeting Time could easily travel between the city and the dungeon through teleportation NPCs. It was fast, safe, and not troublesome at all.
He did it because of me, because I’m an Eastern Continent player! He even made an excuse and told me that he’s going to get Absalom to sell the items through the mail, but will he ever be short on money? There’s no way. From the way he conduct himself, money is definitely the last thing he’ll be worrying about. He said something like that because I told him that I’m broke, and he did not want to make me feel bad about it.
Ye Ci bit her lips as she stared at the man who was talking to Nicky, and a smile formed slowly on her lips.
What a terrible liar.
Does he really think that I would not notice it? Ye Ci might have believed Fleeting Time’s words if she was just a normal person. But as a reincarnator, there was no way she would be fooled by Fleeting Time. Despite that, she was still touched by his small gesture.
Since he’s doing his best to show his hospitality, it’ll be rude of me to reject his kindness. Ye Ci was a person who placed her benefits above everything else. Even when the benefit was coming from her greatest rival, Ye Ci would still gladly accept it.
“Alright then. Let’s just sell everything we got just now and split the money.” Ye Ci raised her eyebrows.
Fleeting Time cast a sideway glance at Ye Ci, and a satisfied expression appeared on his face.
The Goblin Palace in the heart of Vo’sok was the only building that was built with stone. Despite the dismal state of Vo’sok, the palace retained its grand appearance. It was hard to imagine how a race that was no taller than a Gnome can build such a structure.
The palace, that was built in a round shape, reminded Ye Ci of the Colosseum. The developers must have been inspired by the Colosseum when they designed the palace. Ye Ci could feel the difference between the Goblin Palace and all the other palaces she had visited in Fate.
The palace appeared to be round from its exterior, but its interior was shaped like a funnel, with every floor smaller than the floor above.
Ye Ci and Fleeting Time were at the first floor, which was also at the top of the building. A transparent roof of glass looming over their heads, and Ye Ci could see the blood red skies of the Bloody Wilderness through the glass.
The red light shone down through the roof into the palace, giving the place a creepy appearance.
Unlike the duo’s expectation, the first floor was devoid of monsters. The place was eerily quiet except for the occasional winds that howled at the duo.
Ye Ci had a sense of vertigo as she stood at the edge of the first floor and looked down form the railings. The floors that shrunk smaller and smaller with each level was like an endless tunnel.
“Just how many floors does this building have? It’s making me dizzy.” Fleeting Time creased his eyebrows as he leaned against the railings.
Ye Ci shook her head, “I have no idea.” This is a very weird design for a building.
“Let’s just start looking for the entrance to the next floor.” said Fleeting Time.
The Hunter class had an inferior scouting capability compared to the Rogue class, but when it came to ranged combat and adaptability to sudden events, the Hunter class was superior. Two top-tier Hunters in the same party would be able to deal with any challenge. Despite the unknown dangers lurking beyond, Ye Ci and Fleeting Time pressed on. They were able to locate the stairways leading to the second floor in a secluded corner of the first floor.
The second floor of the Goblin Palace was cleaner and more orderly in comparison to the first floor that was full of vines and growths.
This was why Ye Ci and Fleeting Time did not immediately advance down the stairs.
Ye Ci lifted her head and saw some black marks on the walls of the stairways. She could not reach the marks due to her height, and just as she stood on the tips of her toes in an attempt to reach the marks, a hand snaked itself past Ye Ci’s head and reached the blackened surface.
Fleeting Time was standing right behind Ye Ci. They were so close that their bodies were almost pressing closely to one another. Ye Ci immediately moved away from her spot, putting some distance between the duo.
With his attention focused on the black marks, Fleeting Time paid no heed to Ye Ci’s action. After studying the marks closely, Fleeting Time turned around to face Ye Ci, “These are definitely burn marks.”
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