Chapter 336 Solving The Riddle
When one was navigating through a maze, especially a maze that one was not familiar with, then the simplest way was the most effective way.
The party continued forward along the wall, and would not leave its vicinity even when there were monsters at the path ahead. Their efforts were soon rewarded.
And after rounding yet another corner, the Priest spotted a small opening that was relatively well hidden. It was small, and could only fit one person at a time. The opening was hidden in the shadows casted by the dim light in the corridor, which made it very hard to spot. One would not be able to even discover its existence without tracing their hand along the wall.
“Hah, it’s here all along!” exclaimed the Cleric, “We’ve been through here for God knows how many times, and none of us spotted it!” and a few members of the party expressed their shock as well.
This maze was nothing compared to the maze dungeons that players would face in the future. Other than challenging a player’s wit, the maze dungeons would also push the players’ observation skills and teamwork to the limit.
And after a short discussion about the small opening, the members of the guild turn around and stared at Ye Ci, “Gongzi, are we going in?”
“I’ll take the lead along with our Rogue. I suspect traps in the corridor. Be careful in there.” said Ye Ci as she walked through the small opening.
The Rogue’s role in the party was to improve the survivability of its members, and they were always used as a scout whenever a new dungeon was being explored, as their high Perception allowed them to detect the presence of hidden traps. But Ye Ci decided to scout on ahead along with the Rogue. It was not because she did not trust in the capabilities of the Rogue, but because she was the leader of the party, and she needed to lead from the front so that she could figure the best way to clear the dungeon out.
It did not take long for two high Perception characters to scout out a safe path. The darkness in the small narrow path was not a threat to the members as Ye Ci directed them forward with her high Perception.
The party was initially not used to being robbed of their sense of sight, but was quickly able to adjust themselves to the darkness. The Rogue who was leading the way was very cautious. He would pay attention for signs of traps on the path ahead, and skillfully disarm them before leading the party forward.
But accident still happened when a mine the Rogue attempted to disarm exploded. The party was able to proceed relatively unscathed thanks to the Cleric and the Priest.
They were soon to arrive at the end of the narrow path.
But there was no way ahead.
The party investigated the area thoroughly, but was unable to locate any sort of mechanism. Ye Ci ran her fingers against the surface of the wall ahead, and sensed patterns on the wall. She pulled out a torch, which illuminated a small area of the wall.
She saw pictures on the wall, but could not tell what they meant.
“What’s that?” asked the Main Tank of the party.
Ye Ci noticed that the bricks on the lower right corner of the wall was smooth, which was way out of place on the rough wall. A sudden realisation struck her mind, she took a few steps back, and smiled when she had a good look at the wall, “It’s a puzzle.”
“A puzzle?” the members of the party had apparently never considered such an answer.
“You’ll see when you’re far enough from the wall.” said Ye Ci as she directed the Warrior to move the bricks on the wall.
And just as expected, the bricks were movable. Once the party was certain that what laid before them was indeed a puzzle, they proceeded to attempt to solve the puzzle, which was completed within the short span of three minutes.
The wall immediately began to rumble when the puzzle was completed. But there was no hint from the system of any danger, and Ye Ci decided to silently wait for the rumbling to subside. The rest of the party followed suit.
As the rumbling grew stronger, Ye Ci studied her surroundings, and found an entrance slowly opening. She did not know where it would lead, but since an exit had shown itself, they did not have much of an option.
The rumbling intensified as the wall continued to move. I don’t think we’ll be able to return to this spot once we go through that. “Follow me. We’ll go through the opening over there.”
A system notification appeared when the party gathered at the entrance of the opening, “You have triggered an unknown mechanism, sending tremors through the entire basement. Rocks and dust were falling from the ceiling. A feeling of dread crept into your heart. It seems like the ceiling is collapsing.”
And a cold female voice rang out in the narrow space, “The ceiling will collapse in sixty seconds…” and the voice proceeded to count down by the second.
“Run!” shouted Ye Ci as she began sprinting through the opening, followed closely by the rest of the party.
“Remember to drink Speed Potions, mages. Do not allow yourselves to die here!” shouted Ye Ci as debris began falling from the ceiling. More and more debris began to fall as the party ran. It was as if the basement was alive, and it was trying to bury the entire party underneath its rubble.
The second squadron of Upwards Ho! were no pushovers. They might not be top tier players like Ye Ci, but their game sense was still excellent. Many of the had already pulled potions out from their inventory, and they immediately gulped down the potions once the instruction came from Ye Ci and they began to run.
The path was long, narrow, and dark. There was no telling where it would lead to, but there were thankfully no traps lying in wait for the party. The falling rocks and debris were closing on the party’s heels. Even characters with higher movement speed like the Warrior of the party was forced to drink his Speed Potion.
One minute might not be a long period of time, but it felt like an eternity to the party. It felt as if they had been running straight ahead for ten thousand years before the Rogue called out to the rest of the party, “I can see light ahead! We’re near the end! We can do this!”
The good news was a welcoming one indeed to the players. They quickened their pace, and greeted their teeth as they made their way to the exit.
And they were met with bright light as they leapt through the narrow path and into a grand hall. With a final rumble, debris fell down and completely blocked the entire path.
There was only one way left, and it was to move forward.
The party took a moment of rest before surveying their surroundings. A chess board with an unfinished match was placed in the middle of the hall.
The hall had no visible exit, and the only entrance had already been sealed shut. The only way the party could leave the hall was to complete the chess match.
A system notification rang out when Ye Ci attempted to lift one of the black chess pieces, “You are moving as White.”
It was apparent that they had to complete the match to leave the place. The White side was controlled by the players, while the Black side was controlled by the system. It was not a hard obstacle to clear but… Ye Ci did not know how to play chess.
She was an expert in the game, but there were things that she did not know.
“Do any of you know how to play chess?” asked Ye Ci.
Ye Ci was prepared for the worst case scenario. If no one knew how to proceed with the match, then they would have to make random moves and suffer the penalty of losing the match. It was based on Ye Ci’s confidence that the developers of the game would not place an obstacle that was impossible to defeat in the game.
The developer who placed the obstacle in this place might be a chess enthusiast, but even the developer could not expect every player in the game to know chess. There would be a way to clear this obstacle even if the players lost the match.
And with her ten years worth of experience from her past life, Ye Ci was certain that there was indeed a way to get past the obstacle.
But she did not expect the Warlock of the party to be able to play. He placed his staff into his inventory and walked up to the chess board, “I’ll give it a try.” and he let out a sigh after studying the board, “It’s not easy. I cannot guarantee that I will win. The White side is at a disadvantage.”
After receiving reassurance from his party members that the outcome did not matter, the Warlock proceeded with the match.
Ye Ci and the rest of the party finally understood the real purpose behind the chess match. The system had a pre-recognised set of moves, and the White side would be able to achieve victory within twenty moves. But any mistakes made within the twenty move would result in the appearance of an Elite monster with high attack and defense values that must be slain within two minutes or it would regain all of its lost health.
And only two minutes were given to the chess player to make a move. If the player did not make any moves during the two minutes duration, the system would recognise it as a wrong move, and spawn an Elite monster.
The party would also be rewarded with a rainbow orb that would provide all its players with a two-hour buff for every correct move. Each buff provided by the rainbow orbs would not overlap with one another.
This placed a huge pressure on the Warlock to make the correct move. The buff would be useful for the fight ahead, while the Elite monster was designed to deplete the players’ supply of consumable.
The Warlock was able to complete the match under the immense pressure. He made three mistakes and seventeen correct moves. It was a result that Ye Ci was satisfied with.
A wall in front of the party collapsed once the Warlock made the last move, revealing a large canyon before them.