"How did you get here so quickly?"
The underground cave was echoing with Darde's voice of shock.
The body he "borrowed" was slashed into two, including that shadow monster, both of them did not escape [Dawn Sword]'s strike.
Kieran's appearance was too sudden and too much of surprise, to the point that both monsters couldn't believe what they saw.
In their original plan, this meeting was just to test each other out, Kieran was never included.
"Hahahaha! What a surprising fella! I've lost a dispensable body but that bastard left a part of his soul in the shadow. Now after he was killed, I bet he must be suffering excruciating pain!"
Darde was laughing out loud in his wagon. He was traveling swiftly in his specially modified, extra enlarged wagon with his group of men.
His laugh had obvious means of taking pleasure of the unfortunate ones but the most concerning part was the killing intents in Darde's eyes.
"2567, oh 2567… I thought you are just some dispensable chicken ribs but now, you seem to a worthy, decent appetizer! No, no, the main course is ahead of me, an appetizer is no longer appropriate, but you can still be an after meal dessert! Give your best effort in fighting around Supreme Road! The more you fight, the easier I can deal with that bastard!"
Darde muttered to himself.
Meanwhile, in another underground cave where light couldn't reach, the shadows were rumbling rapidly.
Then, the shadow formed a human figure with scarlet red eyes.
The dark cave then lit up in red. The shadowy figure then coldly grunted.
"So this is what you mean by "only average potential" 2567? Broker, you cunning bastard, you're really untrustworthy. I guess I am fortunate enough that my plans didn't follow yours completely, otherwise I might end up on Darde's plate, am I right?"
"Darde, you must be moving forward quicker than before, am I right? Come one now, I am anticipating your arrival! I'll be sure to give you a surprise!"
The shadowy human figure laughed coldly.
Kieran was in deep thoughts as his eyes were watching the two bodies melting away.
"Darde can use someone else's body? Is this the ace that he's been hiding?"
"No, it shouldn't be. If it really was, based on common sense, he would save it for the last moment, even if it was just an item and not showing it off like this. Unless… this ability doesn't belong to him!"
When he knew Extremus and Darde the Titan had entered [Blade of the Daybreaker] together, Kieran had carefully researched the two of them.
The former was very mysterious, he barely got anything on him but the latter was different.
As one of the Supernova only second to the Witch, precise information on what he could do, especially his "titan-morph" which increased his body strength and defense to an outrageously dangerous level. Some people had guessed that after the higher order, Darde would be able to at least boost his own stats by a major rank.
However, no one ever mentioned Darde had the ability to possess other people.
What Kieran just saw wasn't an illusion either, therefore there was only one explanation left.
Who gave Darde such powers? Or should it be, who was working with Darde?
Kieran's mind automatically thought of the possibility and only with that, would it fit how players concealed themselves while exposing others.
About the underground players, most of them were the lone wolves that Lawless introduced him since he barely had any contact anyone other than them but Kieran wasn't naive enough to think every other player was friendly toward Lawless.
Moreover, if it wasn't for Lawless's introduction, the lone wolves might treat him differently.
"The alliance between Darde ad Extremus should be a mutually benefiting one, and it is to… deal with Broker's arrangements! Which means Broker's pawn caused everything here! He is mimicking the dark energy that assaulted Burning Dawn? Or the darkness itself was his handy work?"
Kieran was inspecting the magic circle underneath his feet as he was pondering upon the question.
The intricate magic circle had surpassed Kieran's level of [Mystical Knowledge] but based on some knowledge he had, it wasn't too much of a trouble to find the real core.
The core shouldn't be the black can in the middle.
The real core should be on the left edge of the magic circle: a blurry exterior crystal bottle with turbid liquid inside.
After making sure it was safe, he picked the bottle up and carefully inspected the liquid inside.
Soon, he found something inside.
A piece of a nail.
Based on the shape, it should from a thumb. It was not intact and didn't fall off completely, the nail was only half of its original size and it was showing a weird yellowish brown; there were some extremely small moldy spots in the yellowish brown part as well.
[Name: Unknown Nail]
[Able to bring out of dungeon: Yes]
[Remark: You may be lucky or unlucky to be able to find it. Remember, if you do not have absolute confidence, do not open this vessel.]
When Kieran spotted the moldy spots, the item's information started piling up in his vision.
The series of question marks was astonishing and would cause a man to be curious but the remark at the end made Kieran maintain his cool.
Another glance at the nail in the bottle later, he placed it in his backpack and went on searching the whole underground cave.
However, other than some scattered, damaged supplies from Burning Dawn, he didn't find any valuable leads or items.
It was as if the whole cave was there just to house the magic circle.
Kieran went back to the magic circle and carefully memorized the magic circle.
It wasn't just because he noticed some magical spots about the magic circle, it was also a habit that he had been building for a long time.
"Any unknown mystical knowledge calls for recording, through time, it will allow you to slowly discover its magic."
It was what the God of Earth, Nikorei, said to him before.
Perhaps Kieran didn't have the time to decipher the secrets within, but he still had the time to record it.
When he made sure his memorization was correct, he returned to the surface and quickly rendezvous with the others.
"You're finally back!"
Walloon was relieved when he saw Kieran came back in one piece.
Kieran clearly felt the subtle changes in Walloon's attitude though.
If Walloon had revered him before because of his strength and identity as the envoy, now Walloon was showing the extra closeness of a comrade, a partner.
Why the sudden change though?
Kieran knew it in his gut.
Kieran muttered in his heart. A plan that he rejected before appeared in his mind again and now it was perfecting itself.