The Stone that gathers Lightning
Caravans and travelers who went over the Bar Khu mountain range only stayed to camp for short periods of time. Rosenheim kingdom’s original resting area for rangers; it was no place that regular people frequented.
“So far, so good. We took a very big chance by coming this way, now only a couple more days and we might reach our destination.”
“It was a lot of work.”
“This was all thanks to you, Margaux.”
“You ought to say it straight, Levi. It all started ’cause you killed that guy.”
Halman, Margaux, Levi, and Gran, were four famous player killers from the United Kingdom of Briton. They lived for the enjoyment of killing other players and taking away their equipment. The notorious quartet was better known as Dwichigi (note: sounds better than “turn-over”).
However, about one month ago, they had messed with Fearless of the Cloud guild (maybe it is Hermes?). As one of the ten biggest guilds in the United Kingdom of Briton, and also of the biggest in the whole continent it boasted a membership count of over 6,000 players. Altogether, the guild had tremendous influence, to the degree of claiming supremacy of the United Kingdom of Briton without question.
This meant that even the four members of Dwichigi hadn’t wanted to stay in the area.
In fact, they had wanted nothing to do with it.
Being on the most-wanted list, the four decided to concentrate their time on calmly hunting and leveling up while drunk on brandy, until they came upon someone named Fearless (note: not entirely sure: might be a class, or a rude term for a type of player, rather than “fearless”).
(Maybe smthg like bastard or asshole, if it’s a female then prob. Bitch.)
“Get out of here. This is our area.”
“What’s with that guy?”
“What utter bullshit!”
The four were naturally ill tempered. It took a lot of monetary donations to the temple, or some time spent on hunting to remove the red PK symbol. Because of that there was no symbol that made their player killing apparent.
She had continued to claim that the hunting area was hers, while the four drunkenly trash-talked back at her. Finally Levi had had enough (might have the two sides messed up, either she claimed the area, or they did).
(Note: Brandy/brandywine, might be the name of a person, place or class. Or they are just drunkards).
“That’s it, I’m killing this bitch!”
“Fearless, I’ll teach you not to mess with me, duel me one on one!”
Normally, others would not have fallen for this. When dining, it was better to share the hearth of a fire when the area was wide enough, rather than to leave them in the cold. So they had killed her, going all four of them at once.
Each of the notorious Dwichigi had slipped back into an attacking position. Besides the brandy, the levels of the four, in regards to the other player, were significantly lower. They attacked simultaneously as a group, focusing on fast attacks. Of course, easily enough, the other player had died in vain.
They had then looted a map.
The forgotten tomb of the dwarf:
The place where the short odd geezer fell into long slumber.
In the midst of two canyons, underneath the roots of an old tree.
A narrow road.
The power from the beginning of the world cannot pass without sacrifice.
Seek the sound which does not ring.
Author: Ranger Hans R. Berg
“What is this?”
The laughter of the four had vanished. They had found a treasure map, a unique item.
Ever since then, they had been persistently tracked by the Cloud guild. Only then did the quartet realize that they had attacked a member of the Cloud guild.
“Holy shit! You bloody fool (or noob). If you had told me that that person had been from the cloud guild I would have never attacked her!”
“We need to end things with them without getting finished off ourselves.”
“That’s why we’re at fault!”
“Somehow we need to lay low for the time being.”
For about two weeks, the four had hidden from people and areas with lots of traffic. Yet the Cloud guild had not lessened their attempts at tracking them even by a bit. To avoid death, the four had barely escaped several times by a hair’s breadth. The levels of the quartet had exceeded 220, but they could not have escaped their deaths with just that degree of experience. They had tried to find a way to turn this crisis around.
Halman finally spoke.
“This is weird.”
“I think so too, don’t you agree?”
“An entire guild can’t be chasing us for just killing one member.”
“Yeah, going to this extent isn’t normal.”
“Wait a minute, what about that map we picked up from that girl.”
“What was it, the forgotten tomb of the dwarf…”
“The map must be extraordinary. Those bastards did not want us, they were after this map.”
“Then we should try to find the treasure from this map.”
Since then, the four had begun to discover the secrets of the map. They had crossed over into other kingdoms to research old books and the background of the map, to interpret the meaning of the phrases on it. As a result, they had come to the Bar Khu mountains.
“Just one can enter the tomb.”
“Yeah, but what’s the alternative? Most importantly there is no ranger among us, so the trap cannot be dismantled.”
“It ought to resolve itself by burning out a body.”
“Thus the whole process goes smoothly, even if the person must die on the way, by the final lightning strike. So…which one of us is going to die?”
Obviously, no one wanted to die. Like the others, not one of the four wanted to be the sacrifice and die at the end of the excavation of the dungeon. Then Gran held a beaming smile.
“Who will be picked to die.”
“No way it’s me, where are you pointing?”
It was Gran’s finger pointing towards something that had taken their attention.
But he did not point at any of them, not even at himself. Gran was pointing towards the bottom of the mountains. Creaking away, Mapan and Weed’s chariot was arriving.
“Wow… Hello, my name is Mapan, I did not expect to meet people in a place like this.”
“I’m Gran, and this here is Levi, Halman, and this one is Margaux.”
“Nice to meet you.”
The quartet all had big smiles on their face, rejoicing with the arrival of Weed and Mapan.
“The Bar Khu mountains are no place for people, you have come a long way…. what brings the two of you to these remote lands?”
“Yes, we came in order to trade.”
Mapan went ahead and replied.
“For trade? Then the two of you are merchants, right?”
“Yes, I am a merchant, and Weed over here is a sculptor.”
“Oh, I understand.”
Gran had a wide smile. Halman, Margaux and Levi also were trying to hold back their laughter.
‘What kind of stupid person would choose that as a class?’
That’s what they thought, however, when they dealt with Weed and Mapan, they were entirely polite. This was because their task still needed to be resolved. Of the four, Gran asked thoughtful questions. After being under the influence of brandy, you could read other people even better.
“Anyway, I understand. But you should have met with monsters often if you came across the Bar Khu Mountains? How did you fight against the monsters?”
“That’s due to Weed over here….”
Mapan was about to take a moment to explain, but Weed pulled him to the side.
Weed tried to keep Mapan from divulging the story. Weed had noticed that something was not right, regardless of their attitude. Gran’s eyes were drawn to them, laughing.
“Well, feel free to tell me. Wasn’t it difficult?”
In truth, Weed had a feeling that these four travelers wanted to hide something.
On the broad continent of Versailles, no matter how numerous and overflowing with users it may be, the Monster Paradise is different. You did not meet people here often.
Typically, when you met other people in out-of-the-way places like mountains you would greet them, maybe even eat food with them. And if your destinations matched you would travel together for a while; but these people were far too happy.
They had also been indirectly too delighted when Mapan had told them of their class.
Weed naturally observed their lineup (note: other possible translation, “Weed naturally saw the possibilities for their herpes.” Lol google-fail). Gran was standing at the front, talking to the two beside him, and the last one stood behind him.
‘They are bandits.’
If you think that monsters were the only risk on the continent of Versailles, then you were absolutely wrong. Rather, encountering users in a place like this was far more dangerous.
Weed told Mapan to act naturally. (could also mean that Weed decided to act “normal” for a sculptor)
“I am a sculptor, but I have a unique technique.”
“What kind of technique?”
“It’s a kind of yell. When the monsters hear the sound they run away. Want to see it?”
“Yes, I’m curious.”
Weed gathered his mana to cast the overpowering skill, Lion’s roar.
“khu heng!” (Weirdest roar I ever read! ;P)
At the first sign, Mapan placed both of his hands over his ears, but the quartet, not knowing Weed’s skill, had been caught off guard and its members significantly reeled.
“What bullshit is this, with just his voice….!”
Gran restrained the hot-tempered Margaux and Levi, winking back at Weed, while smiling widely.
“What a tremendous roar. Hrmm, that reminds me. I thought I didn’t see anything in the area for a while now, I guess this was the reason for the lack of the monsters?”
The Lion Roar skill.
Weed had not yet formed a party with Gran, so his leadership has not increased.
The additional effects also didn’t take effect.
The only thing they felt was a loud voice.
“Yes, monsters hesitate when they hear this sound, during that moment I escape.”
The quartet laughed after Weed’s explanation.
‘It’s really not a big deal.’
‘Yet they seem to be the perfect bait?’
‘We should use these guys at that place.’
‘We only need 1…’
‘Why not? We take out the remaining one with our own hands; we use this man because the merchant will drop plenty of loot.’
‘Good, let’s do it.’
The four came to a conclusion without even talking, communicating through their eyes.
Gran turned a serious face toward Mapan and Weed and said.
“So far, this trick may have let you pass through safely, but the Bar Khu mountain range is a really dangerous place. You could call this meeting fate, so from here on we are going to be your escort. Anyways, I think the road we offer is in good faith, there is no reason to refuse. We would be grateful to accompany you, haha.”
“Haha! If it is like that, why should we refuse?”
Mapan laughed out loud deliberately. As a weak merchant, it wasn’t a bad idea to accompany a group of 4 strong players.
“It is a pleasure to work with you.”
Weed also quietly nodded in acknowledgement. He had noticed the situation turning worse, and by the looks in the 4’s eyes he could do nothing but follow…for now.
The fun of an adventure, to travel and see unexplored lands, lies in meeting colleagues. Reliable teammates you can trust. Hunting while getting acquainted with friends, was the kind of fun that made it worthwhile to play Royal Road. At times Weed enjoyed hunting with other players. Since he played so much of the time, it could be unreasonable always being alone, so it was a cool thing to be together with the multitude of other players.
However, this was not the case with this dangerous-looking quartet.
Around the wagon, the four assumed the role of fighting monsters; yet out of the corner of their eyes, they observed Mapan and Weed.
‘Well, he is quite unusual.’
‘The one engaged in sculpting?’
‘It seems you are right about the sculptor.’
The four had their mind set. After that build up yesterday, the sculptor was far too aware of their notoriety. Just then, Weed pulled out one of the gemstones. The Dwichigi four turned the focus of their attention on it, and one of them asked.
“Huh? Is that a jewel?”
Immediately, Margaux revealed a deeply curious expression. Mapan replied with a smile.
“Yes, Weed is currently crafting jewels.”
“Oh, jewelry manufacturing?”
“Wow, that jewel…. it’s enormous!”
Margaux’s young eyes were full of greed.
‘I’d like that to fall into my lap…’
Weed clenched Zahab’s engraving knife while engraving. But the four were not encouraged enough to start a fight.
‘No point attacking for a standard jewel, we have something far better to hope for.’
The quartet had already taken the ruse, their thinking biased when they look at Weed and Mapan.
But Weed and Mapan deceived the deceivers!
Now they had to pretend that they had been tricked!
“It is just about time to prepare and eat a meal.”
“Thank you for offering to your escort, but…. meals served cold…better not.”
“Haha, no, you just watch.”
Weed had Mapan give him the items that the quartet had taken from the monsters.
“This is not some kind of poor quality food being served here.”
“Colleagues, this goes the same way right? It is natural to share the spoils of the monsters we kill.”
“Go right ahead.”
The quartets eyes burned with murder.
“This is the absence of shame…”
Mapan smiled widely, but Weed’s suspicion of the situation deepened even more.
‘A favor without reason… such a thing does not exist. If you are not going to attack us, why the hell is it?’ (ok…I seriously don’t know what to do with this! So I left it as it is.)
Typically, anyone who gives a gift does it as a favor to people who were nice; however, Weed had seen that this was a situation that did not call for the dividing of the spoils, and suspected the situation was drastically wrong. Trying too hard was an even more awkward sight. Nevertheless, Weed did not express anything otherwise. In fact, their concerns had almost been buried completely thanks to Mapan. And he truly believed in the good heart of the quartet.
The next day they arrived at a canyon, dozens of meters separating them from the other edge, with dense mist paving the deep valley below.
Crossing the bridge was not as hard as they had first thought anticipated.
“What a bridge! It is far sturdier than it looks.”
As Mapan went to drive the wagon, Gran came along and obstructed him.
“Gentlemen, gentlemen. Are you adventurers or not?”
“I enjoy the beauty of this magnificent view, as much as any adventure. There seems to be something underneath, way down over there. Wouldn’t it be interesting to go that way for a bit? What do you think?”
Mapan was hesitant at Gran’s words. The thing about the continent of Versailles was, that it was well structured. You could go into a forest, you could even climb a mountain, there was no need to move in some kind of wagon or cart. It was common sense, however, that it was easier to cross over steep canyons than to dive down practically into them. What the quartet had proposed just did not seem right.
At the end of those words, Mapan had the weird sense that something about this was odd.
“Well, is that really necessary…?”
You wouldn’t need a philosopher to identify why Mapan tried to refuse. Any merchant would desire to take the safer path. The quartet was completely against that thought.
*seueuk (think of the metal clinking of a sword about to be slid out of its scabbard)
Halman, Margaux and Levi all placed their hands on their scabbards. Weed and Mapan found themselves entrapped already.
A merchant and a sculptor… Although there was no reason to be tense in a situation like this, if you were prepared for it, it still was a touch-and-go kind of moment. Mapan’s strong moment of refusal and duty!
“Let’s go for it. If anything, it sounds like fun.”
Gran approved with Weed’s words.
“Haha! Knew you’d come around. This will be interesting.”
Gran and the rest took their hands off their scabbards. Halman smiled.
Weed and Mapan continued moving downwards in the carriage with the Dwichigi quartet leading them. The slope of the canyon was very steep, and the wheels of the carriage were stuck several times. Respectively, they would never have been able to go down, if it wasn’t for the help of the quartet. Gran and Halman pulled from the front, and behind Levi and Margaux pushed.
“Sorry about all of this.”
“Haha! Not at all Mapan. This amount of work is nothing!”
Gran and Halman acted as if they owned the carriage. Considering the fact that it would be soon, no was no reason to spare some sincerity, the quartet thought.
“Oh, I think there is a trail over there…”
Gran led the way. He went around here and there, occasionally going back the same way.
“Ah, the scenery looks far better over there. It would be preferable if we go back that way.”
Gran checked out the area in the canyon several times.
Weed took the time to scavenge around!
“Whoa! This one here is a red medicinal herb. Over there is a blue Ceylon plant…!”
It had been reported that there were medicinal herbs at the Bar Khu mountains, and he had heard that at the bottom of a canyon, more sunshine would allow various herbs to root and grow sporadically. Weed eagerly pulled them out and placed them in his bag.
“What are you doing?”
“What do you think I’m doing? I’m pulling out weeds.”
With Weed wandering around they were delayed and the route took even more time.
“I’m going to kill him with my own hands!”
The veins on the foreheads of each of the quartet were pulsing.
After a couple of hours, Mapan was exhausted, and the quartet was as well.
“Hey Gran. Didn’t you memorize the location correctly?”
“Is it just ahead?”
“Wait a minute, we’re drawing too much attention. Weed doesn’t matter, you can easily see that he is just an idiot. But now eve that guy Mapan keeps watching what we do, he’s starting to make me nervous.”
“Okay. Let’s get on with it!”
Margaux approached the wagon.
“Hey Mapan, I’m actually quite interested in those sculptures. Would you mind asking Weed if he can make something good for me?”
Just to the other side, Levi looked for Gran’s next action. In the meantime, Gran spread out a map of the current location and confirmed the location of the tomb. Gran’s eyes were beaming.
‘Well, we finally made it. Just walked passed it by just a little!’
“Now, let’s go this way.”
Gran and the quartet had the wagon turn back towards where they had come from.
They searched through the bushes and trees at the end, and finally found the monument marking the tombs entrance. Of the four, only one was smiling.
“Huh? So this lump is a dungeon?”
“A dwarf’s grave?”
“Come on! We are fortunate. It’s about time to go in. We will never get to see what is there if we don’t go inside.”
“Mapan, Weed! Naturally, you’ll go in first, right?”