Chapter 266 A Hero Like Khu’tak (Part 2)
Mark was overjoyed when he received his goods from Ye Ci. The NPC traced his skinny hand over the chest, and mumbled to himself, “That’s right, this is it. This is it…” Ye Ci sneered at Mark and planted her foot onto the chest, “Mark, you’ve not been honest with me.” “What?” Mark looked up and Ye Ci and instinctively shrunk back, “What are you talking about, Elf? I don’t understand what you’re talking about.” “Oh?” Ye Ci raised an eyebrow, and Mark grew even more nervous, “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Elf. What are you trying to say? Can you spare this foolish Mark such trouble? Why don’t you just speak more directly to Mark? Mark does not like riddles.”
Ye Ci’s eyes narrowed even further. He has the gall to blame me? Suspicious indeed. She did not show her anger, and instead drew her short sword, burying it onto the chest with a dull “thud”. Mark visibly shrunk again as fear slowly crept into his expression.
“We Elves are not fond of riddles,” snorted Ye C, “If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll make it known to you.” Ye Ci shook Mark violently, “This entire place is an illusion! So how did you get in here? And how are you going to Jade Island?” the man was intimidated by Ye Ci and a very angry Alaunar beside her, “Y-you knew…”
“Enough of your nonsense! I want answers!” Ye Ci snorted, “Or you will end up like the crate over there.”
Ye Ci’s threat instilled fear into Mark, “Alright! I’ll talk! Just don’t… Don’t hurt me.”
Mark was unintelligible, but his fear of Ye Ci meant that she was able to slowly coax the truth out of the NPC. He was indeed a merchant who had lost his way in the realm of illusion created by Ciss. His greed drove him to steal the wealth of the temple, which led to his capture by Ciss. Mark was threatened to trick new sacrifices into the temple under the pain of death, and was doing it out of the need to survive.
Jade Island was indeed something real, and it can be reached by traversing the desert. But when asked about the true location of Sha’jia’s Shrine, Mark was surprisingly reluctant to cooperate. Ye Ci had no choice but to give up, as she knew that learning about the secrets of a wider part of the game was next to impossible in a mere dungeon. When asked about a way to leave the illusion, Mark offered a very cryptic response, “You have to leave from where you came from.” to Ye Ci’s dismay. She was unconscious when she was brought into this realm, and would naturally not remember how she was able to gain access to the realm. Fortunately for Ye Ci, Alaunar had a good memory, and was able to guide Ye Ci on their way back.
They found a teleportation circle that was glowing with a faint shade of blue. It was apparent that the circle would activate once the duo was in the circle. With a bright flash of light, Ye Ci and Alaunar was transported back into the cave.
Just like their previous experience, Ye Ci was not able to see what Alaunar saw. She cast a glance at Alaunar and asked, “Is the book here?” Despite his confusion at Ye Ci’s question, the boy replied, “Yes, it’s there.”
Ye Ci once again laid her hand on the book. She could feel that the book was infused with a strange power. She was no longer teleported into the realm of illusion when her hand came into book, and instead received a system notification, “You’ve explored the Shrine of Sha’jia. You can no longer explore the map.”
So this is a single entry dungeon. Thought Ye Ci to herself. Why is this map not made available to the rest of the players like Vosok? But her question was quickly answered by her own realisation. I did not kill Ciss with my own strength, which means that I’m unable to unlock this dungeon. Besides, the island itself was a hidden map. There was no point in unlocking the dungeon.
Ye Ci looked around to confirm her location, and found herself suspended in the air, as if nothing had changed. She then glanced at Alaunar, and the two began to traverse through the lake filled with Water Sprites and the lava pool back to the stairs.
As the duo reached the end of the stairs, Ye Ci shrugged at Alaunar who stared back at her, “It’s all on you now, I have no idea how they opened the door from this side.” The boy nodded and Ye Ci and began looking around the entrance. It did not take him to locate the mechanism that would open the door, and Ye Ci responded with a sigh. It seems that the door only works against outsiders like me, but is rendered completely useless by a member of the Doluo tribe.
Ye Ci motioned for Alaunar to hide within the cave as she scouted ahead for signs of Nuoba’s men, and the duo returned to the village when she was sure that the coast was clear.
“Running a little late today eh, Elf?” Ye Ci knew not how time flows in the realm of illusion, but when she looked up into the sky, it was already growing pitch black. The sentry’s question was nothing out of the ordinary.
Ye Ci smiled at the guard and patted her pickaxe, “Can’t help it. I need to get Lia’s harp as soon as possible.” and the sentry snorted at her response.
Alaunar followed close behind Ye Ci with his head hung low. The boy appeared to be exhausted, but Ye Ci knew that he was simply hiding his anger. An observant individual could even tell that his body was shaking with anger.
Ye Ci then patted Alaunar on the head, “Go home, and tell no one about what we saw today. Can you do that for me?”
Alaunar raised his head and stared at Ye Ci, the flames of anger apparent in his eyes. The boy was grinding his teeth and his hands were clenched into tight fists. It was as if he was a volcano that was ready to erupt.
“Patience is a virtue that a hero must learn. If you are not capable of doing that, you can only be a reckless fool for the rest of your life.” Ye Ci shook her head at the boy.
The rage in Alaunar’s eyes subsided ever so slightly at Ye Ci’s words. He bit on his lips and finally spoke up after a short while, “But… Nuoba intends to kill Lord Dalufar…”
“I know. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.” Alaunar stared at Ye Ci and the latter saw the boy’s kindness and sincerity returning to his eyes. He nodded at Ye Ci, and headed home, “I understand. I’ll head home now.”
Ye Ci logged out of the game for some rest and dinner as well after she was sure that Alaunar had made his way home.
Bai Mo, Zuo Xiaolan, and Ye Nantian were baffled as Ye Ci gorged down her food.
“Even if you can’t leave the house due to your injuries, can you please restrain yourself? You’ll grow into a pig in no time.”
Zuo Xiaolan and Ye Nantian nodded in agreement, “That’s right. A girl like you should eat less. Nobody would want to marry you if you’re fat.”
Ye Ci ignored the onlookers and continued stuffing her mouth full of food, “What do you know? I’m being pushed to the limit here. Who knows if I’ll be able to make it out alive if I don’t have some good food.”
Her family knew that she was in the middle of an exceptionally tough quest, and was not surprised by her words. Zuo Xiaolan and Ye Nantian were Life Players, which naturally meant that they were not interested in the quest itself. They believed that their daughter was capable of completing the quest, and dismissed her grumbling.
Bai Mo, on the other hand, was worried, “You’ve been stuck in that place for almost a week now. Can’t you find your way out of there?”
“I think I’ll be able to leave soon if all goes according to plan.” sighed Ye Ci.
Bai Mo nodded at his cousin, “Just do your best. The members of our guild are working hard in leveling up. We’ll have a lot of lvl60 players in the near future.”
“What about the Mithril?”
“The mining attempts have stopped.” came the reply.
“That fast?” Due to her recent activities on the island, Ye Ci had no energy to spare on the forums. Her only source of intelligence on what was going on in the outside world came solely from Bai Mo and Tan Polang. She knew that people would eventually give up on the Mithril ore vein once they realised that their mining operations were futile, but she did not expect the fever to die down in a week.
“Yup. Because some big shot came along.” Bai Mo narrowed his eyes.
“WHo was it?”
“Have you heard of Smoldering Iron?”
Smoldering Iron? Ye Ci was shocked. It was a name that she knew well. He was the first Grandmaster Miner in Fate during her last life, and was poached by many of the major guilds.
“Of course I know that name. Why? Did he somehow join in on the mining fever as well? Isn’t he a player from the Western Continent?” Ye Ci pursed her lips.
“You’re actually right. That guy spent a large amount of gold to switch his home continent just to mine at that spot. He even posted his findings at the forums every single day. Because of his fame as a miner, most of the players gave up.” Bai Mo offered his analysis.
Ye Ci nodded in agreement, but she noticed something else in Bai Mo’s expression, “What? Is there something else you wish to know?”
“I’m not a Life Player, so I’ll never be able to understand their… Enthusiasm.. In certain things.” Bai Mo shrugged.
“What do you mean?” Ye Ci could tell that there was a hidden meaning behind his words.
“Why would Smoldering Iron spend 100,000 gold coins to have his home continent changed just to go back to the Western Continent after a few days. It felt like he was just trying to prove that there is no Mithril there.” Bai Mo smiled at Ye Ci, “If that’s not the case, why would he go back to the Western Continent? Isn’t there ores in the Eastern Continent as well?”
“Just get to the point.” replied Ye Ci as she munched on a piece of pork rib.
“Genesis sent him to debunk the rumors, didn’t they?” Bai Mo laughed, “They’re smart. You now owe them a favor, and they’re able to protect their own interest as well.” and Bai Mo’s eyes narrowed once again, “But I don’t think that’s the only thing they have in mind.”
“Oh? What do you mean by that?” Ye Ci stared at Baimo.
“Genesis might have their eyes on our Mithril mine.” Bai MO sighed, “We’re not a million-member guild like them. We can’t defend it on our own. As our collaborator, will they offer their aid in the mine’s defense? If we’re forced to accept their help because of Golden Era of the threat of other parties that might get involved, will we still be able to retain ownership of that mine?”
Ye Ci closed her eyes. Bai Mo had spoken out her worries.
There was no friendship between business partners. Benefit was the only deciding factor in such a relationship. It was impossible for the Eastern Continent’s mine to remain locked forever, and the moment Upwards Ho! began their mining was the day they might lose their grasp on the mine. As their closest partner, Genesis might seize such an opportunity to take over.
Ye Ci pursed her lips. Greed is indeed more terrifying than a tiger.
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