TL: Good news and bad news. Good news, lecturer has give the thumbs up to draw a full illustration of the concepts and I finished my other stuff early, so I can TL it.
Bad news, the level of complexity of the designs is enough to make my head spin, and I might need to stop TLing my series for 1 week to meet the deadline. Anyway, I’ll see how it goes.
The next update will be tomorrow.
Chapter 26 – The golden mystery
Everyone who heard Brendel describing the Golden Apple Tree paused for a moment when they saw the lone tree in the distance. The mercenaries who overheard about the part where no mortal could leave when they saw fairy queen, shivered in fright when they linked the tree to Brendel’s story.
They immediately kept their glances to a minimal, afraid of being trapped here forever. They had just escaped from Madara’s undead with much difficulty to survive, but they did not have any intention to stay here forever.
But Brendel did not care about the fairy tale at all. He had searched the entire valley along with all the other players in the game. It was certainly mysterious for the residents that lived here, but in the game there was nothing but a desolate land and fog, not even an animal.
There was no monsters, no treasure, no living creatures. The legendary fairy queen in the lore spread about only through the mouths of the NPCs, and no player has ever seen her.
And that was why it shook him to the core when he saw the tree. He was more than certain that there was nothing like that in the game.
[The way how we got into the valley had not changed at all, and the scenery matched my memories. There was nothing in particular that’s worth noticing either in the day or night… But there’s something that has changed here. Timing differences…? Unlikely… Was there a mission about this? I don’t think so…]
Brendel rubbed his forehead.
[Then… this reality is different from the game? Or someone carefully hid his experience within the game because it’s a one-time mission? The latter seems like a better fit, but how did he get all the secrets in this area? Is it triggered by the number of times one enters the valley?]
Brendel clenched and unclenched his fist.
[Let me think… The first player discovered this area… announced the information excitedly in the forums… then there was some form of NPC confirmation that a knight had gone to that area after the player found that area…. And then another player from a guild confirmed the rumors shortly after that… I feel like I’m forgetting something important.]
Brendel was uncertain about this unforeseen event, as it meant that there could be something that was beyond his calculations. Yet his heart was racing from this unknown event, especially when this secret mission was something that had never been discovered before.
[The rewards must be off the charts since it involves ancient lore!]
He quickly made up his mind and made a gesture to let the mercenaries to get the refugees to stop marching. Time was slowed down in this place, and three full days here was equivalent to a single night outside this area. They could stop and eat, explore the entire valley and not take more than a single day.
He saw Leto looking at him in a puzzled manner. Brendel pointed at the tree and said
“I feel there’s something wrong and I want to check it out.”
“Do you need my help?” Leto might have been a veteran soldier that participated in the November War, but he was ignorant in the ways of the mysterious lore.
Brendel shook his head.
Brendel did require some help, but he did not trust the mercenaries. This was something that possibly concerned legendary treasures, and he did not wish to share it with them. He looked at Ciel whom he trusted the most, but he had nearly spent all his mana points in the battle earlier, and he was just slightly stronger than a normal person.
He looked at Romaine next. She did not fit the requirement either. Even though she had strong perception, but her overall strength was too weak and insufficient for her to take on such a risky mission.
Romaine looked at him and blinked innocently.
[There’s really no need to try and get all puppy-eyes at me… I’m not bringing you.]
He turned his head around and found Freya in an inattentive mood.
“Hah? Ah!” She looked him in a moment of confusion before she blushed.
“What’s wrong?” Brendel was confused by her actions as well. He knew her to be one who had her own opinions on the current situation, but ever since she entered the valley she acted strangely.
He even thought she might have been swapped by some Madara’s undead, if not for the Thorn of Light which did not react at all.
“N-nothing, What do you need, Brendel?” She was thinking about the tasteless request that he had a while ago, and she was afraid that he might be able to see through her thoughts.
“I’m going to take a look at the tree in front, come along with me.”
Freya paused for a while before nodding vigorously: “S-sure.”
“I want to go too.” Romaine started twisting her body left and right in protest.
“Just stay here without doing anything else. If you want to learn riding so much, I’ll let Ciel teach you. If I find that you’re still bound to your horse later, I’ll drag you over and tie you to my horse’s back.” Brendel replied spitefully as he threw a glance at her.
“But I am unable to learn it.” Romaine simply answered without thinking.
He shook his head: “That’s fine since there’s a lot of time. It’s very easy to ride a horse, and if you can’t ride one you can’t go on adventures with me.”
“That’s no problem at all. I’ll tie myself to the horse’s back without any problems. I don’t feel that it’s uncomfortable.”
“It matters a lot, and it has nothing to do with how you feel.” He glared at her for a while, before ignoring her whining.
He instructed Leto on the things to note and brought along a crossbow, before calling out to Freya to set off.
Brendel had searched this path before along with numerous other players. As he rode towards the tree, he finally confirmed that the area here was definitely different from what had happened in the game. He kept circling the boulders nearby, before Freya finally called out to him to ask: “Brendel, what exactly are you looking at?”
“I’m looking for the entrance.” Brendel kept turning the horse round and round to look at the chaotic white boulders. Finally he seemed to have discovered something and jumped down from the horse, and walked towards the center of the boulder.
“Entrance?” Freya also followed him and jumped down from the horse.
“Yes. It’s right here, follow me-” Brendel replied as he pulled out the Elven sword and walked through a small gap between two boulders.
[‘Fate’s fork’. The game’s indicator stated this in the journal, but nothing is showing up in my retina right now. There’s a iron box behind these rocks which contain a rock slate necessary for the unique area.]
He kept thinking about this event when a sudden blast of wind came at him. He was considerably careful in searching, and before he was able to think about it, his body had already made the decision for him to retreat. He knocked Freya down as a golden arrow aimed at his former postion where his nose was.
The two of them fell backwards, but Brendel looked at the shooter’s direction at the last moment and spotted a golden figure disappearing behind the boulders.
[Shit… I’m lucky my reactions are fast enough, because I really didn’t spot where the attacker attacked from just now.]
“Who’s there!” Brendel had subconsciously pushed himself up from the ground to chase the attacker, but when he pushed himself up with his hand, he immediately felt there was much softness in his grasp. When he finally found out what it was, his mind was a blank.
He turned his head back and indeed discovered that his hand was placed squarely into an undesirable spot on the girl’s chest. Freya was staring at him with her clear light brown eyes, and she did not know what to say for quite some time.
But she finally reacted and pushed him to one side, before scrambling to her feet and kept quiet.
He also regained his senses and pretended to look for that golden figure, but there was nothing there at all.
“I’m, err, sorry……” He thought for a very long time, but only managed to squeeze out a dry apology.
“Err, mmm, who was that just now?” Freya’s face was flushed with blood.
“I’m not sure. I saw a golden figure, but fairies don’t appear like that, but more like they are creatures that are summoned.” Brendel’s mind worked furiously and his thoughts were cleared up.
“A-are you fine?” The girl’s voice was incredibly soft.
Brendel looked at her and hook his head. He had been trying to look for a golden arrow, but there was nothing but a deep hole in the boulder’s wall.
[Arrow of Light?]
Brendel’s brow furrowed.
[That’s from a high grade weapon… This is not an illusion, but judging from the opponent’s speed, he’s not as powerful as Ebdon. As long as I sustain my vigilance I’ll be fine.]
Brendel had confirmed his current strength when he fought against Ebdon. If he went all out, he would barely be at the level of a Silver-ranked fighter, and any enemy below that was not much of a trouble to him.
After checking the area, Brendel gestured to Freya for her to be on the alert, while he gripped the Elven sword tightly and slowly advanced.
[The enemy escaped to the north. That area is where the ‘Fate’s fork’ is at. Does that mean he came from that place? But I have never heard of someone being attacked in the game.]
He immediately spotted an iron box in a stone platform as he reached around the bend. Anyone with a level higher than a Gold-rank was able to destroy the box, but it was a meaningless action as the box would be restored the next night.
Brendel looked around his surroundings. He did not trust his memories entirely now. This enemy had proven that events that did not appear in the game, happened here. Not only was there some mysterious living entity, he looked like he was an enemy.
After confirming there was no one around, he opened the box. But when he did so, he was completely stunned.
There was a pair of earring beside a rock slate.
[What… is this?]
He hesitated. He was now afraid that there was a magic trap in the box. Again, there was nothing like that in the game, but he did not want to take a risk. He did a simple test by allowing the Elven sword to go near the box. Typically there was a simple defensive measure for magic traps that worked sometimes.
There was no such reaction.
He then took the ring and glanced at it, before throwing back into the box like it scalded him.
[Ring of Infinite Ice, +2 to knowledge, +1 to will]
Brendel cried in pain and clasped his head with both his hands. An explosive pain went through his mind like a thousand needles had stabbed it.
“Brendel?” Freya jumped in fright and she immediately went over to support him.
“I’m fine, be careful of the surroundings.” Brendel gasped for breath as he he took the box with one hand. He cursed the person who put the ring into the box.
[Damn it. Who’s the bloody moron who put in this 95oz equipment into this box… That was pure magic recoil because my level is too low. This area is still a beginner’s area, and even the max level of any enemy would not be over fifty, but this ring is at least level seventy and above.]
Brendel had used his ‘Will’ to investigate the ring, and caused a strong backlash to his mind. The pain subsided after a while, and Brendel started to think about the events again.
[… I see. So that is why I felt that things are strange. What if this is an event that was impossible for any players to get? Rather than thinking that the NPC knight in the game came second after the first player who discovered it, the NPC was the first to discover this. That’s because the players started to investigate the veracity of the first player’s claim and discovered the rumors about the NPC discovering this area.]
Brendel stared at the ring.
[A hidden quest beyond level seventy? Try and aim for it? Or retreat right away? The risk is crazy, but the rewards are just as impressive. I completed 3 such quests in the game last time, and I got a ‘Fantasy’ ranked weapon, an intermediate secret skill, as well as a billion Tor coins. Because of these three quests, I managed to get into the upper echelons. But… level seventy? Just any level seventy enemy would be enough to kill me outright just by looking at me.]
Brendel’s heart raced.
[But there’s another problem. If I wait till three months later, the secret mission here might be gone. The timing around that time is when the first player discovered this area, so…… what should I do?]
The youth took in a deep breath and looked at Freya.
“Brendel?” She found that there was a strange look in his eyes, and she asked him in trepidation.
“If I am going to choose to risk my life, would you follow me?” Brendel found his voice was hoarse.
“… I would, but I wouldn’t want you to risk it.” Freya thought carefully for a moment before answering.
Brendel took in her words and nodded, letting out a long sigh.