Chapter 230 Brief Encounter
Orthus calmed down after a long time of venting his anger. He then turned around, stared at Ye Ci, and sighed, “Heh, Elf, are you interested in listening to a not-so interesting story?”
“Of course, Mr. Orthus. If you’re willing to tell the story, I’ll be one of the best listeners there is.” Ye Ci bowed to the Goblin. She made the decision not to skip the dialogue. The stories told by an NPC in an Epic-tier quest might contain many clues to a player’s mission. These were not only hidden in the words of the NPC. The intonation and behavior of the NPC during the storytelling process could also be a potential clue. Any important clues that players missed could affect the completion rate of the Epic-tier quest, and ultimately the final reward of the quest.
Orthus was apparently satisfied with Ye Ci’s response. He paced back and forth in front of Ye Ci once again, but with a much calmer demeanor.
Ye Ci stood silently, waiting with all the patience she could muster. After all, she turned into a rather patient person when it concerned her Epic-tier quest.
Orthus jumped onto a fallen wooden pillar and took a seat. He gazed at the distant sky. The bright moon was not enough to illuminate the dark land, leaving only a streak of silver in the night sky.
Ye Ci had already studied her map upon arrival. They were in the Fragrance Wilderness in the Western Continent. The map was filled with monsters around level 50-60. These monsters were passive, and would only attack out of self-defence, which made the map a preferred spot for players seeking to level up. This meant that Ye Ci was in grave danger. If she was discovered by Western Continent players, they would definitely hunt her down without mercy.
Despite the danger, Ye Ci could not change the fact that the location was the spot where Orthus would trigger the next stage of the quest. After all, Goblins were a neutral race in all four continents. As a Goblin, Orthus was in relatively safe from attacks by players, but Ye Ci would be the one in danger.
However, Ye Ci was a veteran in evading enemies with superior numbers thanks to her experience in her past life. This was why Ye Ci was able to wait calmly for Orthus to finally trigger the quest. She maintained her vigilance as she waited, ready to react to any sudden events. She would never allow herself to die right after setting foot in the Western Continent.
Orthus was satisfied with Ye Ci’s patience and silence. As a race that was highly intelligent and full of pride, Goblins despised the members of the other races despite their interactions. In the eyes of the Goblins, they were the most noble of races, while the other races in the Jiama Continent were seen as inferior.
As one of the more conservative Goblins, Orthus looked down on the other races more than the rest of his people. Despite his ideology, Orthus rarely showed his hatred. In fact, he also disliked the Elf who was standing silently in front of him. But unlike most, the Elf was very polite, and was not overly ambitious. She did not attempt to gain benefits from a renowned Goblin like himself. This was why Orthus was satisfied with Ye Ci’s behavior, and even started to speak with her in a gentler tone.
“A long, long time ago, a time even I have forgotten… You know, we Goblins are a race with a long lifespan. Time means nothing to us. But back then, we Goblins did not live underground, and we did not live in seclusion. We had a homeland we called Vo’sok. It was a place full of ores, precious gems, and oil. Vo’sok was just a place full of wonders and resources. You must be thinking that a place like that would be heavily polluted… But you’re wrong. Vo’sok is a beautiful place with lush green trees. The land was healthy and full of life, and the rivers were clean and beautiful. And I… I was born in that place…”
As Orthus indulged in his memories of home, his voice turned gentle, and his eyes lost their focus. It was apparent from his expression that his homeland was one of Orthus’s best memories.
“I didn’t know my parents. I was raised by my mentor, DeFrei, who found me on the plains. He told me that he heard the cries of an infant when he woke up one day, and found me wrapped in swaddling clothes. He told me that I stopped crying and smiled at him the moment he picked me up. In the Goblin society, orphants that are not adopted are fated to be slaves. My mentor could not bear to see me with such a tragic future, and decide to adopt me. He gave me the name ‘Orthus’, which meant ‘a treasured companion’ in the Goblin language. I am not only his son and his apprentice. I am also his most treasured companion.”
The expression on Orthus’s face grew even softer as he spoke about DeFrei. Even his face that was not at all good looking appeared to be less hideous.
“I grew up with my mentor from my infancy into my adulthood. He is the smartest of our race. I know you outsiders like to talk about how Goblin Engineering is a talent unique to our race, but little do you know that not every member of our race is granted access to the real Goblin Engineering. Those so-called ‘Goblin creations’ that are so sought after by you outsiders are mere tricksters in the eyes of a true engineer like me. Only foolish outsiders like you would pay huge amounts of gold to those bumbling idiots.” Orthus snorted out loud. He exuded the air of a pedantic scholar that looked down on the average Goblins, but he did have such a qualification.
As recorded by history, due to the Goblin’s love of money, not many of them were willing to waste time on learning the real essence of Goblin Engineering. DeFrei and his student, Orthus, were the only Goblins remaining that inherited the knowledge of real Goblin Engineering. Orthus’s mechanical eagle was one fine example. If the eagle was a product of an ordinary Goblin, it would not be able to fly as steadily and as fast as Orthus’s eagle. It might even fall apart after travelling such a vast distance.
“My mentor is the last Grandmaster in Goblin Engineering. Even I myself have only reached the rank of mentor.” sadness slowly replaced Orthus’s expression as he continued his narration.
“Why is that?” Ye Ci raised her question at the correct timing, prompting Orthus to continue with the explanation of the quest.
“Because I left Vo’sok.” Orthus’s voice was soft.
“Isn’t Vo’sok a suitable place for the development of Goblin Engineering? Why did you leave that place as a mentor in Goblin Engineering? Have you found a better place?”
“Vo’sok is my home. Is there any place in the world that is better than home?” Orthus’s expression darkened, “I left because I was being hunted.”
It was something that was not recorded in history, “You were being hunted?”
“Yes. I’ve been studying by my mentor’s side since my youth. The long lifespan of our race meant that we have unlimited amounts of time to conduct countless experiments. This is how I’ve been living my life.” the gentle expression returned to Orthus’s face, but it was one that was mixed with sadness, “I never thought that the continent would be split into four parts, and that Naga’s forces would invade this continent, spreading the flames of war to Vo’sok itself. We Goblins are a race that is well-versed in engineering. Even a product made by a common Goblin is seen as a technological marvel by you outsiders. Of course, the Dark Lord Naga thought the same about our machineries as well. Many heroes from all the races answered the call to fight by the King of the Gods, Kleid, when Naga declared war on the Gods. Of course, they paid a heavy price as they tried to stop Naga’s advance.” Orthus cast a glance at Ye Ci, “The Elven King Dau’er was one of them. He was killed in the war, and his soul was imprisoned by Naga.”
Ye Ci’s heart leapt when she heard his words. The Elven King, Dau’er, was closely related to the Race Quest of the Elves. She had not been able to activate the quest as she did not have all the map fragments to Dau’er’s location. No clear record could be found about the Great War in the National Library. Ye Ci herself had only came across bits and pieces of information during her time spent in the library.
Ye Ci could not hold back her excitement, “Where is Dau’er’s soul imprisoned?”
Orthus furrowed his eyebrows in dissatisfaction when his narration was interrupted, “Why are you asking such a question? Aren’t you supposed to be listening to my story?”
Ye Ci could see the anger in Orthus’s expression, “Sir Orthus, we Elves lost our leader during the war, and our race became divided as a result. This is why…” she said in a tactful manner.
Orthus was moved by the sorrow in Ye Ci’s voice. After all, he was also involved in the Great War. “Indeed. I pity you Elves. Your race was divided because of that. I know that Dau’er’s soul was imprisoned by Naga, but I do not know where. It’s a secret of his. How would I know Naga’s secret?” said Orthus with a sigh.
Ye Ci nodded in agreement. The location of Dau’er’s soul was one of the main storyline that must be explored by players. There was no way its location would be revealed so easily, “I’m sorry for interrupting your story, Sir Orthus. Please continue.”
Orthus nodded, and continued his narration, “Naga’s forces suffered greatly at the hands of our advanced technology. After the war, he sent the Bloodthirsty Undead and Corrupted Orcs under his command to seize control of Vo’sok.” Orthus anger rose as he continued, “No, they were unable to control Vo’sok. What they’ve managed to control is that bastard Ciel! He did not deserve to be the Goblin King! He sold the deepest secret of our entire race to Naga for his own pitiful life! He captured my mentor, DeFrei, and held him captive. I would’ve been caught as well if it was not because of the message my mentor left behind when he was captured. This is why I escaped from Vo’sok, while my mentor was held in the deepest depth of Ciel’s castle!”
“DeFrei was like my father! He was also my closest friend and companion in this entire world! But what did I do? I wandered all corners of the four continents while he was imprisoned by Ciel. In the end, after exhausting all my options, I made a deal with Moore. He promised to look for a candidate who would rescue my mentor, while I…” Orthus ended his sentence abruptly. It was apparent that he wish to keep his deal with Lord Moore a secret.
He narrowed his eyes and continued, “After a long wait, I’ve finally met that person. I’ve finally met you, young Elf.”
“It’s an honor to be of service, Sir Orthus.” Ye Ci finally received the quest from Orthus after a long moment of wait, “But where is Mr.DeFrei? Where can I find him?”
“If I’m not mistaken, he is still in the Royal Palace in Vo’sok.” Orthus handed Ye Ci a compass, “This is a special compass that I’ve made. It will lead you to my mentor once you’ve entered the territories of Vo’sok.”
Ye Ci studied the Goblin Compass carefully. It was obvious its quality surpassed that of the Goblin Compass. As expected of an item created by a Master tier Goblin Engineer.
“Go, Elf. If you can rescue my mentor, I shall reward you greatly.” said Orthus as he stood up, and pointed at Ye Ci, “I’ll appear before you when you blow that whistle. Good luck, Elf.”
With that, Orthus disappeared into the night along with his mechanical eagle, leaving Ye Ci alone in the Fragrance Wilderness.
Ye Ci was sure Vo’sok was not a map in any of the four continents in the current stage of the game. Based on her deduction, Vo’sok disappeared during the Great War. So where is Vo’sok now? thought Ye Ci to herself as she read through her quest details. She spotted a sentence in one of the long paragraphs: Vo’sok was a wonderful place, but it’s gone now. Anybody looking for Vo’sok might find hints about the place in the Bloody Wilderness.
It was a map adjacent to capital of the Western Continent, Light Saint City. The topography of the map was complicated, and many high leveled monsters roamed the place. It was not a suitable spot for players to level up. There was also not a single resupply camp within the Bloody Wilderness itself. This made the map an unpopular choice for players looking to level up.
The again, not all players would avoid the Bloody Wilderness even when it was not as popular. The current population of the game was 1 billion, which meant that there was approximately 250 million players in a single continent. There was no way that none among the 250 millions would choose the Bloody Wilderness as their leveling spot. It was a map with a huge monster population that would constantly spawn. A player could level up easily if he or she found the ideal spot. Ye Ci could traverse the map with relative safety due to its low player population.
Of course, as a Eastern Continent player in the Western Continent, Ye Ci could not employ the services of any of the teleportation NPCs in the continent. The only way she could travel through different maps was by foot, as summoning Ol’ Four was not an option as well.
She was fortunate that the Fragrance Wilderness was a territory right beside Light Saint City. She would be able to reach Kodo Forest, the map containing Light Saint City, like this.
The stealth ability of the Hunters was inferior to that of Rogues. In a place packed with hostile players, Ye Ci was determined to resort to violence only when the situation was dire. Besides, spending time in a fight against Western Continent players would mean that she would be away from the Eastern Continent for a longer period of time. She knew that it would take 10 days for the Mithril ore vein to be completely discovered, and the new patch would be released in 30 days. With the impending arrival of Golden Era, Ye Ci had no time to waste.
This was why Ye Ci avoided the main road even when it meant that she would run into a lot of monsters. She traversed through the edge of the map in stealth, heading slowly to the Kodo Forest, avoiding players along the way.
She was finally able to reach the border between the Fragrance Wilderness and Kodo Forest after a few hours. The two maps were connected by a sturdy stone bridge built over a calm river. Flowers and grass grew at the riverbank, giving off an air of peace and tranquility. After all, with a main city in the vicinity, the area would be heavily patrolled by high leveled NPCs. It was indeed a safe zone.
However, the peaceful setting was still dangerous for Ye Ci. The wide stone bridge that could accommodate four carriages was heavily guarded. A patrol would be stationed every few meters.If Ye Ci was not careful, she risked attracting the attention of hundreds of lvl 65 Elite Soldiers. This would certainly spell disaster.
The guards were 5 levels above Ye Ci, which meant that they could easily spot Ye Ci through her stealth due to level penalty.
It seemed that it was impossible to cross over to Kodo Forest through the bridge.
Her only option was to travel under the bridge.
There was a river under the bridge, and jumping into it meant that Ye Ci had to swim across while disabling her stealth. However, there was a problem: there were soldiers patrolling the banks as well as players who were leveling up in the vicinity. Ye Ci would attract a lot of attention the moment her character was revealed.
Ye Ci hid in a bush at the side of the bridge as she assessed the situation. There was nothing she could do but to use her Brooch of Deceit. The brooch could disguise her as a player from an opposing continent, but only for 30 minutes a day. Even then, soldiers in any main city could still see through her disguise.
She had planned to use the precious 30 minutes to buy supplies in small towns, but this was no longer possible. She had to cross the bridge with the help of her Brooch of Deceit.
With the decision made, Ye Ci disguised herself as a Human Rogue and walked out of the bush. Her action did not arouse any suspicion – it was common for a stealthy class like Rogues to be sneaking around. She then summoned her little red horse and galloped across the bridge. Despite the horse’s considerably slower movement speed compared to Ol’ Four, traveling with a steed was still faster than going by foot.
Ye Ci’s heart clenched as she crossed the bridge.
It was true that the Brooch of Deceit had managed to trick the eyes of NPCs in the past, but this was the first time the brooch was used against NPCs from an opposing faction. Ye Ci forced herself to appear calm as she rode past the soldiers posted on the bridge.
To Ye Ci’s relief, the Boorch of Deceit worked. She was able to ride unscathed across the bridge, with the sentries remaining oblivious to the fact that there was an Eastern Continent player in their midst.
“You have discovered the Arc Bridge.”
“You have discovered the Kodo Forest.”
As she galloped away to her destination, Ye Ci received more and more notifications from the system about her discovery of locations in the Western Continent. Players would receive a high amount of experience points for exploring maps in an opposing continent, and might even earn a lot of gold coins and honor points if they discovered a map near a main city. As long as one was confident in his or her ability to survive in a hostile continent, the person could easily level up just by discovering the different locations in the continent.
Ye Ci decided against heading to the direction of Light Saint City, as the guards could easily see through her disguise. She opened the map, and headed straight to the Bloody Wilderness. After all, there was only a timeframe of 30 minutes, and she was determined to put the time to good use.
The player population in the Kodo Forest was higher and denser than the player population of the Fragrance Wilderness. The sea of red players was an awe-inspiring sight even for Ye Ci.
The road to the Bloody Wilderness was adjacent to the Bloody Wilderness, and was full of high-leveled monsters. Players would usually form up in parties and take up positions at spawn points, waiting for monsters to respawn. Ye Ci could still remember the terrain during one of her multiple visits to the place in her past life, and her knowledge enabled her to navigate the road with ease.
The atmosphere in the map was entirely different from sunny setting of the map containing Light Saint City. Everything became dimmer and gloomier the moment Ye Ci arrived at the road.
“You have discovered Putrid Trail.” the system notification rang out in Ye Ci’s ears.
Wilted and dead trees lined up on both sides of the tiny trail, and corpses could be seen dangling from the trees. Ghouls would then appear beneath the trees, climbing up the trunk to feast on the corpses. The map was a sharp contrast to the Light Saint City in the adjacent map.
Players who were new to Fate would definitely be intimidated by the horrors in some of the more scary maps in the game. But as they gained experience while playing the game, they became bolder and bolder. Ye Ci could even see female players standing up against the ghouls calmly and picking up loots from their slain enemies.
After an entire year of experiencing what Fate had to offer, the players were already used to such gruesome scenes.
The monsters in Putrid Trial had a fast respawn time, and offered a high experience reward. Even when players receive less experience points as they partied up, the quick respawn timer of monsters made up with sheer quantity. This was why the Putrid Trail was full of 5-man parties.
Members from these parties would then chase away any players who approached their spot.
When Ye Ci entered the Putrid Trail, she received messages from the Western Continent players, “This spot’s taken, please go somewhere else.”
“Make way please, make way please. We’re not responsible for any accidents.”
“We’ve taken this spot. If you wish to level up, please go somewhere else.”
Ye Ci received multiple messages, as she went down the trail. In the face of benefits, the friendship between players from the same continent was tossed aside. Ye Ci ignored the players and galloped onwards, hoping to put some distance between herself and the Western Continent players. She only had 3 minutes left on her Brooch of Deceit.
The players in the Putrid Trail were packed too densely together. If her disguise ran out at that moment, she would face certain death.
“Eh? Is that Rogue heading to the Bloody Wilderness?”
“You’ve gotta be kidding me! He’s heading to the Bloody Wilderness alone? Does he have a death wish?”
“What if he’s rich, and is loaded with stacks of Health Potions?”
“Pfffttt… Does he really think that he’s that good? That place is not for normal players like you and me.”
The Western Continent players began their separate conversations as they stared at Ye Ci. After all, the dangers in the Bloody Wilderness is on an entirely different level compared to the Putrid Trail. Not many were willing to venture into the map alone like Ye Ci.
Ye Ci ignored the comments from the players around her, and galloped on to the Bloody Wilderness.
There was 50 seconds left on the effect of the Brooch of Deceit, but the Bloody Wilderness was right in front of Ye Ci. Even the blood red sky of the map was already within sight.
Time was short, but Ye Ci’s little red horse could not move any faster. She even began to regret her decision of not getting a better steed. Then again, she had never thought of the day when she would not be able to depend on Ol’ Four…
She was still a short distance away from the Bloody Wilderness, but had only 37 seconds on her timer.
It should be enough. There’s no player in this part of the map. Even if I run out of time, nobody will see me.
12 seconds left on the timer, and Ye Ci had only the last few yards to cross before she was safely in the Bloody Wilderness. It was a nerve-wracking experience forher. I hope nobody is passing by… I hope nobody is passing by… I hope nobody is passing by… A battle between her and a Western Continent player would definitely attract the attention of the players nearby.
Just then, a player on a unicorn appeared before Ye Ci, galloping in her direction at high speed. Ye Ci could feel her heart in her mouth when she spotted the player’s face.
What’s with this luck? Why am I running into him in a place like this?
Ye Ci knew that she might run into the person when she was in the Western Continent. Then again, who would have thought that she would actually run into him in this particular place? After all… The Western Continent was a large continent.
Fate, however, had other ideas. Ye Ci’s luck was indeed bad on this day. Everything that could go wrong went wrong today. If the player had been any other person, she might have had a chance of victory. Ye Ci could feel the sky darkening all around her.
F*ck it! What’s with this dogshit luck?
That’s right. That person was Fleeting Time.
Despite being at max level, Fleeting Time would still visit the Bloody Wilderness from time to time for the Critical Gem dropped by monsters in that map. With his inventory full of gems, his arrows almost depleted, and food for Little Five running out, Fleeting Time decided to head back to Light Saint City for supplies.
As a player who had been frequenting the Bloody Wilderness, Fleeting Time would of course know all the safe routes in the map. He summoned his unicorn, and began galloping towards the direction of Light Saint City.
It was a bountiful day for Fleeting Time. He was able to loot four Critical Gems and a Flawless Strength Gem. He even had a chance to merge the Critical Gems into a Flawless Critical Gem in the city. The thought of having a Flawless Critical Gem socketed in his bow sent joy into Fleeting Time’s heart.
Before long, Putrid Trail was already within sight of Fleeting Time. As he gazed at the trail from the Bloody Wilderness, Fleeting Time could see the grim forests at both sides of the trail. He hated the Putrid Trail. To him, the place was dark and smelly. He was, however, impressed by the tenacity of the players who would spend days leveling up in the map, braving the stench of rot as they waited patiently for monsters to spawn. They were indeed…. Impressive.
As he entered the Putrid Trail, Fleeting Time spotted a male Rogue with mediocre equipment and a low quality heading in the opposite direction.
He was alone.
Is he heading into the Bloody Wilderness alone?
Well, he’s a Rogue. He just might be able to pull it off if he has good mechanical skills. Despite the relatively low number of solo players in the Bloody Wilderness, there was still approximately 60 of them in the area. They had their own spots in the map, and Fleeting Time could recognize many of them on sight. However, the Rogue was a completely new face.
Fleeting Time dismissed him as just another Western Continent player. After all, every player had their own playstyle. Even if the Rogue was just looking for excitement, he had no right to stop him.
Besides, what he did had nothing to do with Fleeting Time.
As a person who hated to meddle in somebody else’s business, Fleeting Time did not pay much heed to the Rogue. He brushed past the Rogue on his unicorn.
But… Just at that brief moment, something caught the eyes of Fleeting Time… 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far