Ciel was enraged when he saw the interaction between De’frei and the duo, “What are you doing, De’frei? Are you befriending these lowly Elves? Do you know that it’s a serious crime? I’m ordering you to activate the Iron Warrior! Do it now!” he waved his scepter, and a bright glow emanated from the blue gem on top of the scepter, accompanied by the low crackling sound of electricity.
Ye Ci knew that time was of the essence, and that she had no time to waste. She went straight to the point, “Orthus sent us. Do you want to leave, or are you staying?” After all, it was hinted by the system that De’frei would be able to help with the BOSS.
“What? Orthus sent you? By the Gods… That poor child.. Doesn’t he know that how dangerous it is?” De’frei was surprised when he heard Ye Ci’s words, “Why must he take such a huge risk? I’m happy as long as he’s alive!”
Ye Ci could barely hold back the urge to roll her eyes. We’re the ones who are risking ourselves here, not Orthus! Why would NPCs always credit themselves with everything good while pinning their misdeeds on the players? How shameless!
“So, Mr.De’frei, are you coming with us, or will you stay?” urged Ye Ci. She could no longer remain calm. Ciel was bound to act, but De’frei was still wasting their time with meaningless words. She would die in the Western Continent if the situation continued to drag on, and the death penalty in a hostile continent was very high.
De’frei was at a loss, “Do I leave… Or do I stay… Do I leave… Or do I stay….” he muttered under his breath.
“Mr.De’frei, if you stay, you’ll be forced to do things that you hate.” Fleeting Time spoke up as well.
“But… But…” De’frei was apparently conflicted, “But Vo’sok is the home of the Goblins.”
“Vo’sok has already been wiped out from any known maps! It’s nothing but a pile of rubble infested with Undeads and Orcs.” said Fleeting Time, “It may be harsh, but this is the reality, Mr.De’frei! Ciel has become Naga’s henchman, and if you stay here, you’re no better than him.”
“Don’t forget that Orthus had always been waiting for you.” Ye Ci seized the opportunity to speak out the words that she knew would definitely entice De’frei.
De’frei’s expression immediately lit up when he heard Ye Ci’s words, “That’s right, Orthus is waiting for me! We still have a lot of things to do! A lot of projects to complete! I must leave this damn place! I must go to Orthus!”
“Do not try my patience, De’frei! You know what will happen if you incur my wrath! Activate the Iron Warrior now, and send these Elves into the oblivion!” one could tell from the bloodlust in Ciel’s eyes that the king had lost even the last shred of his rationality.
“Alright Elves, I’ve decided to lend you my aid. Ciel is completely mad. He cares about nothing but reviving his wive, the Drow Llaesnyffan. He no longer cares about what happens to the Goblins. I must leave this place. Do you see that Iron Warrior? It is the greatest work of my life, but it is not complete. Ciel forced me to build the Iron Warrior not for Vo’sok, but for Llaesnyffan’s soul. The Dark Lord stole that Drow’s soul so that Ciel would build him the Iron Warrior, but…” De’frei sat up, and a solemn expression crept into his face.
“If the Iron Warrior is activate, it’ll wreak destruction upon the palace and Vo’sok as well.” De’frei stood up and faced the duo, “Are you still willing to rescue me despite the danger?”
“Of course, Mr.De’frei. We Elves always stay true to our words. You can trust in us.” Ye Ci bowed at De’frei.
“So be it. My dear Elves, I will activate the Iron Warrior. One of you must target the weak spot on its chest. The Iron Warrior is not completed yet, it is still weak, but you have to remember that you only have an hour to destroy the Iron Warrior or we will never be able to leave this place.” said De’frei.
“So what will another of us do?” Ye Ci knew that it was important to pay attention to even the tiniest of details of an NPCs dialogue. She knew that the little details contain could lead to either success or failure.
“Vo’sok is a land left behind by the Gods, and Ciel’s scepter was the pillar that kept this kingdom standing. It was the most precious treasure of the Goblin Treasure. The Gem of Life on that scepter was the reason behind Vo’sok’s prosperity. To allow the incomplete Iron Warrior to function normally, Ciel will have to channel energy into the machine from his scepter. One of you must take the scepter away from him to weaken the Iron Warrior.” said De’frei as he looked up at Ciel.
He then took a few steps forward and spoke to Ciel in a loud voice, “Your Majesty, are you sure that you want to activate the Iron Warrior?”
“Of course! Do I look like I’m joking? Enough of your nonsense, De’frei! Activate my strongest warrior now!” Ciel’s mood showed a slight improvement in comparison to his demeanor when De’frei was conversing with Ye Ci and Fleeting Time.
“As you wish, Your Majesty. I shall fulfill your order as your loyal subject.” De’frei bowed at Ciel, made a signal with his eyes at the duo, and spoke in a harsh tone, “Prepare to meet your doom, you damned Elves!”
Ye Ci was shocked to see De’frei reappearing at the top of the Iron Warrior’s head almost instantaneously.
“Wow, he can Blink as well… If only I have a skill like that.” Fleeting Time let out a low whistle. He made no attempts to conceal his envy at De’frei for having such an ability. Despite the tough battle ahead, Fleeting Time was relaxed. He even flashed a smile at Ye Ci, “Little Gongzi, I’ll keep the Iron Warrior busy, you go for the scepter.”
“Why is that?” Ye Ci cast a sideway glance at Fleeting Time, and at the Iron Warrior that was slowly beginning to activate.
“I’m a guy, and Ciel’s a guy as well, but you’re a girl. As they say, opposite sexes attract. Maybe he’ll go easy on you.” replied Fleeting Time. By then, the Iron Warrior had already completed its activation and was slowly standing out. The machine was way taller when it stood up, and weapons that appeared to be a rocket launcher was attached to its shoulders. If the Iron Warrior fired its gigantic weapons, the entire palace would collapse.
“There’s not much time. I’ll deal with the Iron Warrior while you go for the scepter.” said Fleeting Time before Ye Ci could even respond. He was already measuring the distance between himself and the gigantic machine’s chest.
Ye Ci, of course, saw through Fleeting Time’s intention. He knew that going after Ciel was a relatively safer task as the king of Goblins was a lvl60 monster while the Iron Warrior was a lvl65 enemy. He was afraid that Ye Ci would be slain by the Iron Warrior, and made the decision to deal with the deadly foe himself while relegating the simpler and safer task to Ye Ci. “Alright then.” responded Ye Ci despite knowing full well of Fleeting Time’s intention. At that moment, time is of the essence.
The duo then began making preparations for the battle ahead.
“Behold, my strongest warrior! The mightiest of all my warriors!” Ciel was filled with excitement when the Iron Warrior began to move, “Go, my beauty, show me your strength before I present you to the Dark Lord! Kill these wretched Elves!”
The Iron Warrior was unsteady with its movements, and sparks can be seen from the joints of its knees. The gigantic machine fell after standing on its unsteady feet for three mere seconds with a loud rumble. Smoke immediately bellowed from the Iron Warrior, filling up the entire palace with a thick soot.
With the perfume still in effect, Ye Ci was remained unaffected by the thick soot.
“What is happening, De’frei? What happened to my precious warrior?” Ciel cried out in anger.
“Your Majesty, I’ve told you that the Iron Warrior is not complete, it still has a lot of flaws…” came the reply from De’frei.
“You imbecile! You’re the smartest of all Goblins! I think you’re lying!” roared Ciel as he waved his scepter, “I shall personally cheer my strongest warrior on!”
Ciel began a long stream of chant as the blue gem of his scepter glowed brighter and brighter. A blinding white light then enveloped the Iron Warrior, and the huge machine rose slowly. It then approached Ye Ci and Fleeting Time with steady steps.
Despite its sheer size and destructive potential, the Iron Warrior was slow and its movement was impeded in the confined space of the palace. It was not easy for the gigantic machine to keep up with the tinier and significantly more agile Elves. The robot, however, was able to make up for its lack of maneuverability with the sheer volume of firepower that it could bring to bear. While its attacks were slow and required a long time to charge, they could deal tremendous damage to a very large area.
The duo started the fight by trying to evade the Iron Warrior’s attack in an attempt to throw off the machine’s aim. Their goal was to create a window for Ye Ci to cast Feigned Death. Ciel knew nothing about the duo’s plan, and his attention was focused solely on the battle between the Iron Warrior and the two Elves. The duo knew that any direct attempt to scale the platform to get to Ciel would alarm the Goblin king. They needed Ciel to lower his guard, and they could achieve such a thing through the skill Feigned Death.
“It’s channeling its next attack.” observed Ye Ci.
“Alright, I’ll grab its attention. You be careful.” said Fleeting Time as he leapt to a side with the agility of a mountain cat. He took aim at the special patterns on the Iron Warrior’s chest and fired off his arrows, dealing multiple critical hits to the gigantic machine. Despite its immune to pain, the Iron Warrior was still annoyed by Fleeting Time’s attacks. It immediately took aim at Fleeting Time with the rocket launcher attached to one of its shoulders.
Despite its range, the Iron Warrior had trouble with acquiring its target due to Fleeting Time’s small size. The only option the gigantic machine had was to hit the ground near Fleeting Time in an attempt to catch the Elf in the blast. Of course, the Iron Warrior’s method of attack was something that was predetermined by the game’s system, and it was something that Fleeting Time knew all too well. This was why Fleeting Time paid close attention to the Iron Warrior as he sprinted, and leaped into the air as the machine fired its rocket.
Ye Ci could barely hold back the urge to applaud Fleeting Time’s jump. His timing was completely perfect, as if his jump was assisted by a third-party software.
Ye Ci did not forget the task that she had to perform even when she was captivated by Fleeting Time’s maneuvering. She jumped out the moment the Iron Warrior fired off its rocket along with the direction of the blast.
Ye Ci appeared to be hurled across the room by the force of the explosion. Her movements were quick and precise that it was impossible for one to tell that it was faked.
Before her body collided with the platform, Ye Ci bent her knees in an attempt to reduce the damage she would receive, and activated Feigned Death at the same time.
Ye Ci’s apparently lifeless body laid at the base of the platform moments later. It gave the illusion that she was dead, much to Ciel’s glee. He laughed and called out to Fleeting Time, “Ha ha ha! Damned Elf! Have you seen how your companion died? Cease your resistance and I will give you a painless death.”
Fleeting Time was worried. He cast a sideway glance at Ye Ci. Her act was so real that even Fleeting Time himself was deceived. Ye Ci’s icon in the party member list that had not turned grey was a sign that she was still alive.
“How are you doing? How much health do you have left?” asked Fleeting Time as he waltzed around the palace with the agility of a lynx.
“I’m at 80% health.” replied Ye Ci who laid on the ground. She could still observe the fight between Fleeting Time and the Iron Warrior, and she was impressed by Fleeting Time’s agility. As expected of the guy who was known as the God among Hunters in my last life. Even I might not be able to pull that sort of maneuver off.
This man… He is indeed a worthy opponent.
“Use a Healing Salve instead of a Healing Potion when you get up. That thing has a higher aggro value, and Ciel might notice you.” Fleeting Time was still able to give Ye Ci a reminder despite his fight with the Iron Warrior.
The critical nature of the situation did not allow much window for the duo to communicate. With Ciel’s attention focused fully on the battle between Fleeting Time and the Iron Warrior, Ye Ci drank a Large Healing Salve and immediately entered stealth as her health bar was slowly raised.
She then advanced carefully towards the stairs of the platform.
With the stairs located at the rear of the platform and Ciel’s position at the front of the platform, Ye Ci could easily climb up the platform while avoiding detection. She had observed Ciel’s behavior, and found that the Goblin would stare at Llaesnyffan who was lying in the coffin every 3 minutes and return his gaze towards the battle after confirming that she was safe.
The Hunter class had a minor chance of exposing their position as they climbed up stairs despite being in stealth. A Rogue, however, did not share the same worry.
Ye Ci’s progress up the stairs was severely slowed because of such a risk. Her efforts would be wasted if she was exposed before she could get within range of Ciel.
It took Ye Ci 10 full minutes to climb a mere dozen steps of stairs. She immediately took a crouching position as she finally arrived at the top of the platform. After all, stealth works best when a character is crouched, and this would reduce the chances of Ye Ci being spotted by Ciel.
Of course, this did not mean that she could avoid detection completely.
Ye Ci stood at the edge of the platform, and pressed herself against one of the pillars to place herself in Ciel’s blind spot.
Her gaze then fell upon the crystalline coffin behind Ciel, and a sudden thought crossed her mind, “Fleeting Time, what did Ciel say to us when we first entered the throne room?”
Fleeting Time was caught off guard by the absurdity of Ye Ci’s question, “It’s something to do with a ritual that we’ve disrupted. I can’t remember the exact words that he said.”
That’s it! We’ve interrupted his ritual! Ye Ci was certain that she saw that Llaesnyffan was enveloped by a strange light from the Gem of Life. The Gem of Life can activate an Iron Warrior that was barely working… Can it resurrect a dead Drow? thought Ye Ci to herself.
Ye Ci then remembered De’frei’s words. The Dark Lord Naga has stolen the soul of Llaesnyffan. If that was true, this meant that Ciel’s ritual was futile. He could never resurrect Llaesnyffan with the Gem of Life. The only way that Llaesnyffan could be resurrected was to exchange her soul with the Iron Warrior. The Drow in the coffin was Llaesnyffan’s body, and judging from the great care Ciel took to preserve the body, it was certain that the king of Goblins intended to revive her.
A plan began formulating in Ye Ci’s mind. She knew that her chances of success in grabbing Ciel’s scepter are very low. Even if Ciel was a lvl60 monster, he was still the king of an entire race. Llaesnyffan could be used as a leverage against Ciel.
Ciel turned around and stared at Ye Ci’s hiding spot before she could make her move. Ye Ci’s could feel her heart in her mouth and her muscles immediately tensed. All would be lost if Ciel detected her presence.
Fortunately for Ye Ci however, Ciel quickly shifted his attention back to the Fleeting Time. That Elf was too damned agile. The Iron Warrior’s weapons had destroyed half of the throne room, but the Elf was still able to remain on steady feet even when his surroundings was reduced to rubble. He was able to skip and hop into the Iron Warrior’s blind spot and launch attacks after stinging attacks at the gigantic machine. Ciel’s raged burned on, and rage was something that could cloud an individual’s judgement. The enraged Ciel began channeling a spell. He was attempting to further empower the Iron Warrior with the Gem of Life.
Ye Ci relayed the information to Fleeting Time as she crept slowly towards Llaesnyffan’s coffin.
It took Ye Ci two full minutes to cross the 10 yards between her and the coffin. Her heart was in her mouth and her gaze was fixated on Ciel as she advanced slowly. She immediately tumbled behind the coffin and concealed herself when she was a safe distance away. Just then, Ciel turned around, detecting the lurking danger behind him. When he found nothing after studying his surroundings for a long moment, Ciel’s attention shifted once again to Fleeting Time.
Ye Ci stood up and extended a hand towards the coffin, and a smile formed on her face. The unlidded coffin was not protected by any forms of barrier, and Llaesnyffan was easily within her reach.
She lowered her head and stared at Llaesnyffan. She was a very beautiful girl, but her skin was sickly pale due to her death. She studied the coffin for any magical runes and then poked at Llaesnyffan’s arm with a finger. When nothing happened despite her actions, Ye Ci was sure that Llaesnyffan was stored in the coffin without any forms of protection.
With such a knowledge in mind, Ye Ci took in a deep breath and lifted Llaesnyffan’s corpse after muttering an apology to the beautiful Drow. She then chuckled at Ciel.
Ye Ci’s chuckle was soft, but it was a very terrifying sound for Ciel. He immediately faced Ye Ci and the Gem of Life glowed with the crackling of energy as he pointed his scepter at her.
Fear was actually present in Ye Ci’s heart. All would be lost if Llaesnyffan was not as important as what was mentioned in the quest description. Was her action a foolish one?
“Hello, Your Majesty. We meet again.” said Ye Ci with a smile despite the fear she harbored in her heart.
Ciel was momentarily stunned before realisation dawned upon him, “You’ve deceived me! I’ll kill you!” screamed the Goblin king as the glow of the Gem of Life intensified.
Ye Ci ignored Ciel’s threat and placed her short sword on Llaesnyffan’s throat, “Your Majesty, do you think that your spell is faster than my sword?”
“You damned Elf! I’ll kill you!” screamed Ciel as he began channeling a spell.
The smile remained on Ye Ci’s face as the blade of her sword sliced open the skin on Llaesnyffan’s neck. Of course, no blood flowed from the dead Drow’s neck, but the cut that Ye Ci made had exposed the flesh under the skin, “Your Majesty, I’m sure you know that you’ll never be able to revive a being with its head cut off, even when you’re in possession of its soul…”
“No! Stop it! Stop it at once!” Ciel was terrified when he saw the wound on Llaesnyffan’s neck. He immediately stopped the spell and screamed at Ye Ci, “Oh, good Elf, I beg of you! Please, stop it!”
Ye Ci let out a sigh of relief. Her gamble had paid off. Despite De’frei’s statement that Ciel was in love with Llaesnyffan, there was still doubt in Ye Ci’s mind. Ciel was a king while Llaesnyffan was nothing but a beautiful girl. Was the love between the two true love between a man and a woman, or merely the affection shown by an aloof ruler towards his pet.
She finally realised from Ciel’s reaction that the king truly loved Llaesnyffan even when they were not members of the same race.
Despite his madness, Ciel’s decision to abandon the entire kingdom to ruin for the sake of Llaesnyffan was a sign of true love.
“What do you want? I’ll fulfill your demands as long as you don’t harm Llaesnyffan.” Ciel was reduced to begging for Ye Ci’s in a very pitiful manner.
Ye Ci stole at glance at the ongoing battle not far away. The Iron Warrior was no longer functioning at full capacity. The mighty machine was slowing down, and smoke began to rose from its massive body. It was apparent that the Iron Warrior shall be defeated soon.
“Give me your scepter.” said Ye Ci after looking at the quest description. The duo had to defeat the Iron Warrior and acquire the scepter.
“No, I can’t. This is a very important treasure to the Goblin kingdom. I can’t hand it to a member of another race.” it was apparent that Ciel retained some of his pride as a king.
“Your Majesty, Vo’sok is gone. The races that walk this earth no longer recognize the Goblins as a proper race. Why are you still holding on to the scepter? Just listen to me. If you hand me the scepter, I’ll return Llaesnyffan to you.”
“No…” despite his protest, Ye Ci could tell that Ciel’s resolve was shaken.
“Your Majesty, the palace is about to collapse. Don’t you know that Vo’sok will crumble along with the palace? Why are you not willing to let go of the scepter? At this point, you’re not handing over your authority, but proving your true love. Are you going to abandon your loved one at a time like this?” Ye Ci’s voice was soft.
“Come, hand me the scepter.” Ye Ci extended an arm towards Ciel while tightening her grip on Llaesnyffan’s throat with her free hand.
“Llaesnyffan… Oh, my beloved Llaesnyffan…” muttered Ciel as he stared at the beautiful Drow and then at Ye Ci. He even had the illusion that his loved one is alive. The Goblin king began to walk up to Ye Ci with the scepter.
“Hold still, and toss the scepter over.” Ciel was a danger as long as the scepter was still in his hands.
The king of Goblins immediately halted and tossed the scepter at Ye Ci. The scepter soared across the air in a graceful arc, and landed…
Right into Ye Ci’s hand.