Chapter 245 Quest Completed
“I got it!” Ye Ci immediately pushed Llaesnyffan at Ciel when she snatched the Scepter of Life from the air. She the rolled to her left and bounded off the platform like an arrow.
“The ground is completely ruined. Be careful where you land, or you might actually die.” the platform was 30 yards above the ground. A character without a high level of Agility and Balance would never survive such a fall. However, character classes like the Hunter, Rogue, and Ranger with high Agility and Balance could easily survive if they chose their landing spot well.
Ye Ci landed just as Fleeting Time finished his sentence. She skidded off the side of a jagged mound, avoiding the sharp protruding rubble, and began making her way to Fleeting Time.
Her quick movements brought her within range of the Iron Warrior in the blink of an eye, and she immediately unslung her bow and took aim at the giant machine, launching attacks after attacks on the weird patterns engraved on the machine’s chest.
Without the power from the Gem of Life, the Iron Warrior proved to be a paper tiger. Its defensive and offensive capabilities were drastically reduced, and the machine itself would even lose health as time passed. This, however, was not much of a good news to the duo.
The palace was at the brink of collapsing. Chunks of the roof rained down into the throne room. A hit from one of these debris would be enough to kill either one of them with a single blow.
The duo was forced to constantly dodge falling debris as they continued their battle with the Iron Warrior. “Where’s De’frei? He was well and alive before the fight started. Where did he go?”
With her attention previously focused on Ciel, Ye Ci lost track of De’frei during the battle. Fleeting Time who had been fighting against the Iron Warrior, however, had an answer to her question. “You’ll see a Goblin that had already passed out if you pay close attention to the Iron Warrior’s head.”
Ye Ci stared intently at the Iron Warrior’s head, and spotted a crown. It was not a mere decorative ornament, but the cockpit of the machine. De’frei was controlling the Iron Warrior from that spot before he was knocked unconscious by the Iron Warrior’s erratic movements when it was powered by the Gem of Life.
“I think the palace will collapse once we defeat the Iron Warrior. How do we get out of here?” this question was a cause of great concern for Ye Ci. She was not willing to lose her life in the Western Continent, especially if she was about to complete the exploration of this dungeon.
“De’frei will regain his consciousness soon enough.” replied Fleeting Time calmly.
“How do you know about that?”
“A system timer appeared on my screen when you were on the platform. He’s going to wake up in around 10 seconds. I’m pretty sure the devs will not make this place a complete death trap. There must be a way out.” replied Fleeting Time calmly as he fought on against the Iron Warrior.
You can say that because you left the game 3 years after it was launched. If you held on for two more years, you would’ve experience how ridiculously difficult a dungeon could be. thought Ye Ci to herself. She could still remember a dungeon where members of the same party were required to die at least thrice in the dungeon before they could unlock an achievement that would allow them to finally clear the dungeon. Even those who managed to make it to the end of the dungeon during their first few tries were forced to commit suicide. The player begrudgingly dubbed the dungeon as “The Suicide Hotspot” as a result.
Vo’sok was child’s play compared to that dungeon.
De’frei stood up on wobbly feet just as Ye Ci was busy reminiscing her past, “By the Gods, where am I? What happened?”
Dialogues from NPCs were displayed in a specialized NPC channel in a dungeon, and any conversation between a player and an NPC would take place in the channel. A player could hear the voice of the NPC and even use the channel as a log to access their previous conversations. There was even an option that could make a text bubble appear on an NPCs head as they speak. Such a function was very useful to look for the tiniest hints and clues about a quest.
“You’re finally awake, Mr.De’frei. We’ve secured the scepter, and the Iron Warrior is nearing its death. We’ll soon be able to complete the task you entrusted to us, but the palace is at the brink of total collapse! Do you know of a way out?” Ye Ci explained the situation to De’frei.
“What? Just what have you done?” shouted De’frei as he appeared before Ye Ci and Fleeting Time. A hint of sadness appeared on his face as he laid his sight upon the Iron Warrior.
“Ah… The greatest of my creation… It seems that nobody will be able to witness your might after all.” said De’frei as he produced a tiny remote. The Iron Warrior was enveloped with a strange light at the press of the button and immediately ceased moving.
The palace began to shook. It was apparent that the place was about to collapse. De’frei muttered under his breath and a circle of light appeared, “Come, let us depart from this place.”
A sudden thought flashed across Ye Ci’s mind and she immediately cast a glance at Ciel who was still holding on to the form of Llaesnyffan. Is it possible to bring Ciel out of this place as well? We’ve fulfilled out quest of obtaining the Gem of Life and defeated the Iron Warrior. The quest is supposedly completed. But what will happen if we rescue the Goblin king?
“Hold up, I’ll be back real soon.” said Ye Ci to Ciel.
Fleeting Time followed after Ye Ci. He knew what was going on in Ye Ci’s mind, “You want to take Ciel with us?”
“Yup. We’ve completed the quest, but something tells me that we’ll be rewarded handsomely if we managed to get Ciel and Llaesnyffan out of this place.” replied Ye Ci.
“It’s not easy, but we can try.” Fleeting Time immediately agreed with Ye Ci’s plan. Only an idiot would allow the chance of obtaining more rewards to escape from his grasp.
The duo then began sprinting towards the platform. With the speed of the Hunter class, they were able to reach Ciel, who was still holding Llaesnyffan in an embrace, in the blink of an eye. The Goblin king paid no heed to the crumbling palace. He sat by Llaesnyffan, muttering in a language that Ye Ci could not understand.
“Your Majesty, the palace is about to collapse! You should leave with us at once.” Ye Ci wasted no time with formalities.
“Leave? Where to?” Ciel stared at Ye Ci with doubt in his eyes. The aura he had as a king was gone. He was reduced to nothing more but a walking corpse.
“Anywhere is better than here.” a huge chunk of falling debris almost hit Ye Ci if not for Fleeting Time’s quick reaction of pulling her aside.
Ciel, however, remained at his spot. He stared at Ye Ci and spoke with a sorrowful voice, “No, I am going nowhere. I’m staying here. I am the king of Goblins. I have to remain in Vo’sok.”
Ye Ci gritted her teeth and waved the Scepter of Life at Ciel, “I’ll return this to you if you come with us.”
It was a bold move on Ye Ci’s part to take such a risk. Her quest would fail she could not reacquire the scepter from Ciel later on. Fleeting Time, however, did not show any sign of protest. He observed the interaction between Ye Ci and Ciel with a smile on his face.
“No! I’ll not hand Llaesnyffan over to you!” it was apparent that Ciel could still remember the deal Ye Ci made with him with Llaesnyffan’s corpse.
“Hurry up, Elves. The palace will completely collapse soon, and we won’t be able to leave this place.” De’frei began to urge the duo to leave as trembling of the palace intensified.
Even Ye Ci was on the verge of giving up. She shook her head at Fleeting Time, “Let’s go.”
Fleeting Time grabbed at Ye Ci’s arm and said with a smile, “Just give me a moment.”
“What are you on about?” Ye Ci was baffled as Fleeting Time turned around to face Ciel, “Your majesty, don’t you wish to resurrect Llaesnyffan?”
“To resurrect her?” Ciel was apparently interested in such a topic. Hope filled his eyes for a brief moment before it was replaced by despair, “No… There’s no way. The Iron Warrior is destroyed. What else can I use to trade for Llaesnyffan’s soul? It’s impossible!”
“Haven’t you heard that the Dragonia is capable of resurrecting the dead?” Fleeting Time was sly as a fox as he smiled at Ciel, “It seems that your majesty does not wish for Llaesnyffan’s resurrection. If that is what you want, you would’ve visited Dragonian Queen in the Middle Continent.” he let out a sigh.
Ciel was stunned. Fleeting Time turned around and tugged at Ye Ci’s arm, “Let us depart.”
“We’re leaving?” Ye Ci was confused by Fleeting Time’s decision to leave just as she began to see hope.
“Of course.” Fleeting Time smiled at Ye Ci, and leapt off the platform.
Ye Ci immediately understood the intention behind his actions, “Heh, you’re trying to trick an NPC? How well do you think it’ll work out?” asked Ye Ci in the Party Channel.
“We’ll see how it goes. I’ve figured out from your conversation that using that Drow as bait might just work.” it was a gambit by Fleeting Time in a situation where time was scarce.
“Well, it seems that your gambit paid off” said Ye Ci as Ciel appeared beside De’frei with Llaesnyffan’s corpse.
The duo reached De’frei’s side moments later.
Despite his confusion, De’frei wasted no time in questioning the duo. He immediately began chanting the teleportation spell.
With a loud rumble, a large piece of debris began to fall… Right towards the small party.
Will we make it out in time? Or will we be squashed to death?
Despite having such a thought, Ye Ci find herself remaining calm.
De’frei finished the spell right before the party was hit by the debris, and the palace vanished from their sight in a blinding white light.
The two players, two NPCs, and a corpse appeared at the border of Vo’sok moments later. It was the entrance that Ye Ci and Fleeting Time had used to gain entry to Vo’sok. The place was deathly quiet, but vibrations could still be felt from their location.
Clouds of yellow dust rose from the direction of Vo’sok. Nobody knew what the former city would become once the dust settled.
While a sense of relief washed over Ye Ci and Fleeting Time, De’frei and Ciel were experiencing an entirely different emotion. Despite their allignments, they were still Goblins, and Vo’sok was the home of all Goblins. One would always be aggrived by the demise of one’s homeland especially when its destruction was caused by one’s own hands.
Ciel stood silently as he stared at the rising dust, “It’s finished… Everything… Everything is gone.” muttered the king.
De’frei, who remained standing, was filled with sorrow. He covered his face with his hands as his sobs raked his body. Ye Ci patted De’frei on the shoulders and spoke with a soft voice, “Mr.De’frei, I understand your feeling, but please don’t be sad.”
“You’ll never understand my feeling! How can you understand the feeling of a person who ruined his own homeland with his best creation? I’m a sinner! I should not even be alive!” De’frei was sobbing like a child.
“How would you even know that we do not understand what you feel?” said Fleeting Time, “Even if your homeland is destroyed, you can still build a new home as long as all the Goblins unite. But what about us Elves? Our king has fallen into eternal slumber after the war with Naga. He might never even rise again. Hell, we don’t even know where his grave is! We Elves are a bunch of wanderer who can’t even defend our homeland after Dau’er’s demise. How can you say that we do not know how you feel?”
De’frei stared at Fleeting Time and Ye Ci. Despite his silence, the duo could tell that Fleeting Time’s words had an impact on the elderly Goblin.
A smile appeared on Ye Ci’s face. She was delighted to know that she was not the only soul who spent a lot of time in the library. Fleeting Time was just like her. While Ye Ci’s knowledge was brought over from her last life, Fleeting Time acquired his knowledge from the library in-game. This meant that the man was far more dedicated than Ye Ci gave him credit for. This gave Ye Ci a newfound respect for Fleeting Time. As expected of a top-tier player… He has good mechanical skills, and is willing to do countless researches about the game.
The birth of a top-tier player was not out of coincidence.
Ye Ci continued after Fleeting Time, “Despite our misfortune, the Elven race as a whole had never once given up on our search for the Elven King Dau’er. We have never once given up hopes to reclaim our homeland. So why do you have to wallow yourselves in sorrow?” she then stared at Ciel, who was paying attention to the conversation between De’frei and the duo. “Behold, the King of Goblin lives. He made a grave mistake, but it is something we mortals are bound to make.” said Ye Ci as she pointed at Ciel, “Your king lives, and that’s all that matters. So what Vo’sok is destroyed? Can’t you build a new Vo’sok with the intelligence and capabilities of the Goblins?”
De’frei shifted his sight to Ciel and stared at the monarch for a long moment. He then bowed deeply at Ye Ci and Fleeting Time and performed an ancient Goblin salute that was only used by Goblins on their king or individuals that have earned their utmost respect, “Thank you, o’ dear Elves. You are the eternal friends of us Goblins.”
Ciel stood up as well, and repeated De’frei gesture before speaking in a calm voice, “Thank you for what you’ve done for us, Elves. You shall be the most honorable friends of the Goblins.”
Even after handing over the Scepter of Life to Ye Ci, Ciel’s name was still displayed as “Goblin King Ciel”. A system notification appeared in the screen of the duo after Ciel’s dialogue, “You have reached the Prestige of Respected with the Goblins.”
This was something that even Ye Ci did not expect. She had never in her wildest dream thought that completing a dungeon could boost her Prestige with a single race to the level of “Respected”. She stole a glance at Fleeting Time, and found him whistling happily. It was apparent that he was very satisfied with the reward.
A quest marker appeared on De’frei’s head, and a system notification signifying the completion of the quest appeared when Ye Ci handed him the Scepter of Life. “I have nothing special with me, nor do I have huge amounts of wealth. Please receive this gift from me as a token of my gratitude for rescuing me from the Goblin Palace.” said De’frei as he handed two parcels to the duo.
Both parcels contained a single book wrapped in leather. The words “De’frei’s Worknotes” were etched on the covers of the books, written in Ancient Goblin Language. Ye Ci held the first part to the notes while Fleeting Time was in possession of the second part. A system notification chimed out as Ye Ci flipped open the first page of the book, “An ancient voice entered your ears, and something flashed across your mind. You’ve learnt the Ancient Goblin Language.”
It was something that Ye Ci did not expect.
Ye Ci was able to understand the writings on the book, and her eyebrows immediately furrowed upon reading the words. She was not happy. She came to the realization that both she and Fleeting Time held a different part of the same book. Does it mean that I won’t have the complete version of De’frei’s book?
“By the way, Little Gongzi, do you remember the bet between us earlier on? I think I know what I want as a reward for winning now.” said Fleeting Time who saw through Ye Ci’s thoughts.
“What do you want?” responded Ye Ci absentmindedly. Her thoughts were focus fully on combining the two books.
“Well, it’s simple. Why don’t we meet up at the Middle Continent when it’s made available to players and get a scholar to copy each of our part and make a trade?”
Ye Ci knew that it was the best solution, but she was not willing to give her trust to Fleeting Time that easily. After all, they would end up as enemies soon enough. “It’s not a problem… As long as you’re willing to sign a contract with me.”
Fleeting Time paid no heed to Ye Ci’s pettiness. He patted his book with a smile, “Alright. I knew you won’t hand it to me willingly anyways.”
Ye Ci narrowed her eyes at Fleeting Time. That bastard.. He always has a way with words. Despite that, she knew that having a contract was the best possible solution, as any breach of the agreement would result in a heavy penalty that would be imposed by the system.
The system was able to generate the contract within seconds, which was immediately signed by the duo after making sure that there were no mistakes in the terms of the contract.
Ye Ci narrowed her eyes at Fleeting Time. Why does this feel so weird?
Fleeting Time’s eyes narrowed as well, “So you’re saying that your collaboration with Absalom is a valid one, but it’s invalid if you’re doing it with me?”
Ye Ci pursed her lips at Fleeting Time and crossed her arms in front of her chest, “I don’t think there’s a need to shake hands to validate the collaboration between us. A contract is enough.” she snorted and cast a glance at De’frei, who was having a conversation with Ciel which was nothing important and was almost at its end.
Fleeting Time rubbed the bridge of his nose and smiled, “If I know that this is how you’ll act once we get out, I would’ve stayed in the dungeon a little longer. You’re not cute at all like this.”
“What did you say?” Ye Ci’s long pointed ears twitched. She could not hear Fleeting Time clearly, but she had a feeling that it was nothing good.
“There’s a quest.” Fleeting Time pointed at De’frei with a smile.
Ye Ci accepted the quest from De’frei, which required her to return the Scepter of Life to Ciel. She found the conversation between Ciel and De’frei after sifting through the NPC chat. The NPCs were talking about the fall of Vo’sok, which Ciel regretted. De’frei then expressed his willingness to return the Scepter of Life to Ciel after the king admitted his mistake.
Ciel let out a long sigh after receiving the Scepter of Life from Ye Ci, “Vo’sok was a gift from God. Instead of treasuring such gift, we brought it to ruin. Oh God, please guide your children in our journey to find a new home.” the king then began a long chant, and bright red light emanated from the Scepter of Life.
Ye Ci instinctively took a step back and stood behind Ciel, along with Fleeting Time and De’frei.
The sickly red light at the tip of the Scepter of Life expanded as Ciel continued his chant. It was not a reddish orb that was half a yard in diameter which was still growing larger and brighter.
Just then, Fleeting Time received a private voice call. Despite his annoyance, Fleeting Time immediately responded when he noticed that the call was from Absalom. “Fleeting Time! That ore vein is real! We’ve completed the quest and the Black Iron Dwarves have already begun exploring the ore veins!” shouted Absalom with excitement before Fleeting Time had the chance to speak up.
“Oh, isn’t that a good thing?” unlike Absalom, Fleeting Time did not doubt the truth behind Ye Ci’s words. He believed her the moment she proposed such a deal. It was not because of his feelings towards Ye Ci. He knew that Gongzi You was not a foolish person, and an intelligent woman like her would not pull a stunt that would jeopardize her benefit on the long run.
“Are you still in the dungeon?” Absalom was literally on cloud nine at that point. The man was so filled with joy that he would take a slap from Fleeting Time with a smile on his face.
Fleeting Time stole a glance at his mini map. He was indeed in the dungeon, but his location was fairly close to the exit, “Yup. I’m still in the dungeon.”
“When will you be heading out?”
The red orb at the tip of the Scepter of Life continued to expand, and Fleeting Time himself was unsure if the quest was completed. Judging from Ciel’s actions, it was highly possible that a new stage of the quest would be triggered.
“I have no idea.” said Fleeting Time, “What do you want?”
“I’ve just arrived in the Saint Light City, and I want to treat Gongzi You to a meal as a sign of thanks.” Absalom had even forgotten about the simple fact that Ye Ci was not a player from the Western Continent due to his barely-contained excitement, “We might be forced to the brink by Golden Era if it’s not for her. With the Mithril ore vein in our grasp, we’ll be able to control the economy of the entire Western Continent.”
“She’s a player from the Eastern Continent. There’s no way she can enter the Saint Light City.”
“Aiya, I’ve forgotten about that… How do I thank her then? Even if this is a collaboration between us, I’m sure you know that we got the better end of the bargain right?” replied Absalom with mirth clear in his voice.
“Get me a Hawkeye skill book from our guild warehouse then.” during their exploration of the dungeon, the duo had not even encountered a single skill book as loot drop, Fleeting Time could still remember his promise to Ye Ci before they entered the dungeon, “Get someone to pass the skill book to me once I’m out of the dungeon. Of course, it’ll be best if you’re the one who delivers it.”
“Alright, let me know when you’ve left the dungeon.”
The red orb was already 8 yards in diameter when the conversation ended. “Away!” shouted Ciel in the ancient Goblin language and the red orb flew at the direction of Vo’sok’s palace. A loud bang followed and the ground began to shake.
The explosion threw a vast column of smoke and debris into the air.
Ye Ci knew that the red light would spell bad news, but such an outcome was beyond her expectation. She subconsciously took a step back, right into Fleeting Time, who pulled her into an embrace and pressed her against the ground, shielding her from the explosion.
Ye Ci could feel as debris scratched against her arm, taking away a tiny chunk of her HP with every hit. Her HP was dropping rapidly, and before long, Ye Ci had lost 25% of her HP.
From Fleeting Time’s portrait, Ye Ci could see that he had only 20% of his HP left.
Despite that, Fleeting Time remained silent as he shielded Ye Ci from the blast, as if he was a suit of armor that was protecting her in its embrace.
Thud… Thud… Thud…
Even with the tremendous amount of noise generated by the explosion, Ye Ci could still hear the strong heartbeat of the person behind her.