Translator: Dess Editor: Efydatia
After three hours of resting, Kieran went off to meet Lawless at the station outside the Harvest Inn.
"Ready?" Lawless asked, sounding very apologetic.
"Sure! If you could talk to me normally, and not like you owe me a hundred million, I’d feel more ready though!" Kieran joked.
He was hoping to make Lawless get over his guilt with that joke. He knew that Lawless was thinking that he had put his friends into danger’s way.
Lawless was unwilling to accept this. It was just too hard for him to bear. If he went alone though, then Kieran would have been the one feeling guilty.
Kieran knew what he needed to do, and he was aware of the danger.
Lawless had been helping him right from the beginning, so he could not walk away from this.
After all, wasn’t this what friends were for?
"Actually… Fine, I’ll shut up!"
Lawless seemed like he wanted to say something, but Kieran interrupted him, his middle finger forcing him into a bitter smile.
Lawless didn’t shut up though. Instead, he took out two cigars and lit them up in the rudest way possible. Then he gave Kieran one of them.
"Here, have one. It tastes great!"
"Can I say no?"
Kieran stared at the cigar in his hand. The thick smoke had a strong alcoholic flavor to it, and the moment he smelled it, Kieran realized he was too young to be tasting such a cigar.
"Of course not! Try it, you’ll love it!" Lawless insisted.
Kieran frowned, carefully placing the cigar in his mouth and taking a light puff.
The smoke instantly assaulted his mouth with its spicy flavor.
Kieran started coughing uncontrollably, tears rolling down his cheeks.
"How was it? Nice, right?"
Lawless patted Kieran on the back hard, trying to ease his coughing, but his words only made Kieran roll his eyes.
If he had not wanted to make the bastard feel better, he wouldn’t have taken the cigar.
The taste of the cigar had been surprisingly good though.
When Kieran’s cough subsided, he felt an unusual feeling bloom in his body. It was not the scent of the cigar smoke, but the refreshing sensation of trying something new.
Under the influence of that new feeling, Kieran mimicked Lawless, holding the cigar in his mouth.
"Congratulations! You are a man now!" Lawless said with a laugh, grabbing Kieran’s shoulder tightly.
The duo went on chit-chatting as they waited until the Broker sent his message.
"Old Strea Street? What is this bastard up to now?"
Lawless frowned over the message before explaining about Old Strea Street.
Old Strea Street had originally been called Strea Street, and it had been a prosperous street where many players had been "born".
During its prime time, the street had had everything. Food, wine, weapons, armor, enchantments, potion crafts… Everything had been gathered on that street, which had been the favorite place of the veterans.
However, when a newly promoted veteran player had provoked the Witch, the whole street had been annihilated along with the players who had resided there. No one had been spared.
Besides some lucky players who had been in their rooms at the time, 20 more players within the Witch’s sight had been killed off during the tragedy.
After that incident, Strea Street had been treated as a bad omen and slowly faded off the players’ sight.
Then a new street had taken its place, providing the players with a new gathering point, and Strea Street had been renamed Old Strea Street.
The new street was Loens Street, the place where the Broker had risen to power and wealth.
"The old street was destroyed and a new one was established, which is also coincidentally under the Broker’s control?"
Kieran raised an eyebrow upon hearing this. That coincidence sounded too much like a conspiracy.
"You think it was the Broker’s dirty work, don’t you? Everyone thought so! If it hadn’t been the Witch who destroyed the street, the Broker would definitely have been a suspect. The only one responsible was the Witch though… Besides, who would dare command the Witch to do anything against her will?"
"Plus, it was that fresh veteran who provoked her. The Old Strea Street incident was eventually treated as an accident. As time flew, nothing changed other than people’s fear for the Witch, which still lingers in everyone’s hearts..."
Lawless shrugged as he told him the whole story.
"Shall we go then?" he asked.
"Yeah!" Kieran answered with a nod.
Although he felt that something was fishy, he knew what he had to do at the moment.
Following the Broker’s orders, the duo arrived at a broken old street at the side of the giant city.
If Lawless had not told Kieran about Strea Street’s former prosperity, he could not have imagined that this broken street that reeked of a foul stench had ever been prosperous.
Kieran carefully avoided the muddy waters by his feet.
"This place has obviously undergone some reconstruction. Why did it stop though?" Kieran asked in confusion when he saw an unfinished building.
"Because of the lost players! The developer behind the city’s design was a realist. If any players were willing to stay, everything would go back to normal, but players are leaving, so this place is turning into a wasteland. After that incident, no players wanted to return to Old Strea Street, and considering the lack of sufficient purchasing power, the players who had originally resided here could not help but move away."
"This is why the current Old Strea Street looks so ugly..." Lawless said with a sad sigh.
"I see..." Kieran nodded, getting more familiar with the underground game rules.
The duo picked a high spot, that was less dirty and wet than the rest of the area, and tried to avoid that foul stench while they waited patiently for the Broker’s next message.
This wait seemed to be longer than the previous one.
About 20 minutes later, they still hadn’t received anything.
Kieran and Lawless exchanged a look. Both of them had been extra vigilant with the Broker right from the start. Now they felt that something was not right.
Therefore, when they heard a series of footsteps, they both assumed their respective battle stances.
We will see Lawless's true power (other than the firearms) soon