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Zhang Yang arrived at the Crimson Blood Mountains where the place was filled with monsters. They were all melee-attackers which made it really easy to kill them in large groups.
Zhang Yang patted the bear’s head and started to rush into the enemy. One by one he kited them until they accumulated in numbers, and kill them in one go. The obtained experience was extreme satisfying.
Zhang Yang continued grinding for three days straight and killed his way up to the peak. When he arrived, he felt weird. The place was empty. There were so many monsters down the hill yet at this hundred-meter square area was only occupied by one monster. The monster was just kneeling down, gazing into the distance. Its rotting eye sockets where glowing with the typical green-emerald flames of a spectre.
Is that a boss?
Zhang Yang eyes glinted. He hurried over to it and observed its properties.
[Smaug] (Normal, Spectre)
As expected! It’s a green, friendly monster! The name however, was extremely familiar!
But…could a spectre be a green-name monster? Zhang Yang was flustered. He kept the axe and his shield and went up to Smaug.
When Zhang Yang footsteps grew louder, Smaug got up to his feet immediately. The flames in his eyes flickers violently as the lower jaw crackled to speak in a deep, husky voice of a man. "Adventurer, are you here to end my life?"
A talking spectre!? That had to be at least a Witch Spectre level! How could a rotting, brittle-looking, meatless, skeletal monster be able to have the ability of speech?! He was supposed to be just the same as those mindless zombies!
Something was not right!
Zhang Yang shook his head to deny Smaug’s statement. "To aise as a spectre after a man’s death, could only mean an unfulfilled wish. Only a desire, a wish so strong, could force a man to rise from his grave! Tell me, spectre, what is it that you wish to achieve, and I will help you fulfill your wish!"
Naturally, Zhang Yang knew that Smaug had a quest for him. Otherwise, he would not even have the guts to blurt out such a corny line.
Smaug turned his empty sockets to Zhang Yang and said, "Three years ago, I was in the expedition army. I died on this very battlefield. Back then, I had a wife. A beautiful, loving wife who I will never forget. She was carrying my child in her womb! I can’t just leave now, I have to meet her! I want to meet my child! Only then, can I leave this earth with a contented heart."
A husband, a loving father, and the unrelenting desire to care for his family had made this man to rise up from the dead. Unlike the other spectres that had remained on this earth due to vengeance and hatred, this man, no this spectre, was here because of his unconditional love.
Zhang Yang nodded his head. "Respected warrior, how may I help?"
Smaug turned his head towards the far south and said, "Could you see to them? My wife and child. Please see it whether they are living a good life. Come back here and tell me all about them!"
‘Ding! Smaug has a quest for you: Last Wish. Will you accept it?’
"They should be living in the north, in a town call Balin. My wife’s name is Liya. Liya - Tuskar!" Smaug turned back to face Zhang Yang. "I must thank you, adventurer. You have a noble heart. A true heart of a warrior!"
Zhang Yang nodded his head. "I will be back with haste!"
Zhang Yang summoned his bear and rode down towards the south.
[Last Wish] (Difficulty Level: D)
Quest Description: Head towards the town of Balin and search for Liya - Tuskar and her child. Let them know about Smaug’s affection for them and obtain a reply from Liya for Smaug.
Progress: Obtained Liya - Tuskar’s reply letter 0/1
It was just Level D quest, yet it required Zhang Yang to run over the entire mountain. Zhang Yang sighed. Judging from the quest description, Zhang Yang guessed that it would not be of any worth to complete the quest. However, even though Smaug was just a program, a fictional character, the story he told and his devotion to his family had moved Zhang Yang. He decided to run around a bit to finish the quest.
Even though Crimson Blood Mountain and the town of Balin belonged in the region of Didier Flatlands, it took Zhang Yang one whole hour just to arrive at an old, dead town.
Surrounding the town were protective wooden parameters with four guards standing at the entrance. Wielding long spears, they entered aggressive stances and bellowed ferociously at Zhang Yang.
[Balin Guard] (Elite, Humanoid)
These NPC that were threatening Zhang Yang had yellow name tags. If Zhang Yang wanted to, he could just ride in without the need of stopping. However, it was not necessary.
Zhang Yang pulled the reins of the bear and stopped right beside the guards. "I’m just a regular adventurer trying to find a place to stay for the night and resupply. I mean no harm!"
One of the guards walked up closer and carefully shift his head up and down, studying him closely. He turned back after a while and screamed. "It’s human!"
Zhang Yang murmured. "So, can I go in now?"
"Wait!" The same guard stopped Zhang Yang by blocking his path. "By orders from Lord Aiden, all visitors must pay 10 gold coins as an entrance fee!"
What a rip-off!
Zhang Yang grunted and took out 10 gold coins to pay the guard since he just wanted to finish the quest as swiftly as he could. After dropping the gold coins on the guard’s palm, he proceeded into the town.
As he rode on the bear through the stone pavements of the small town, Zhang Yang could not help but notice the old buildings on either side of the road. There were not many people on the streets as well. The entire town seemed rather glum. Zhang Yang gently stopped an older woman and asked, "Excuse me dear madam, do you know where is Liya - Tuskar’s house?"
The NPC woman was a rather plump, middle aged lady. She lifted her fat, chinless face up and looked at Zhang Yang and spoke in a rather agitated tone. "That shameless whore? How do you know that name? Wait…you don’t look like you’re from around here! Oh! The heavens have mercy on us all! Even a foreigner would know about that whore! What a disgrace she has been to the town of Balin!"
Did she say whore?
Zhan Yang was stunned. "I’m sorry madam. I’m her husband’s friend in the army. I came here just to deliver a message."
"Smaug’s friend?" The fat lady stared at Zhang Yang with disbelief and replied. "Young man, you’re too late. Liya the whore had already died two years ago!"
"What?!" Zhang Yang frowned immediately. A simple, delivery quest had just taken a turn for the worse! It had just gotten more complicated! Zhang Yang asked again, "I recall that she had a child."
"So it seems. I heard when the b*tch was buried, she was still carrying a child in her womb! Pui! What a shameless whore! That lowlife could not even live a day without having a man in her bed!" That fat lady NPC face was twisted with disgust as she spat onto the gravel pavement.
Just as she was about to leave, Zhang Yang quickly asked one last question. "Where was she buried?"
"In the cemetery, far west of the city. I don’t know the exact location. Find her yourself!" said the fat lady. But just as she walked away, Zhang Yang could hear her murmur. "That shameless whore should not even be buried in the cemetery. She should just fed to the wolves."
The question lingered in his mind until he rode the bear towards the cemetery of Balin. The cemetery was a large garden-like field. If tombstones were planted neatly in rows with a garden around it, this place would make a beautiful one indeed.
Zhang Yang got down and started reading each of the tombstone for Liya’s name. When he reached a corner of the north most area, he found Liya - Tuskar’s tombstone.
‘Ding! Quest: Last Wish has been updated. Please investigate the death of Liya - Tuskar!’
The system notification rang in his ears just as Zhang Yang touched the tombstone.
Looks like this was not just a simple delivery quest after all!
Zhang Yang rode out and back into the town. After asking around, he finally found the location of Liya’s old house. The small house was extremely old, and was close to falling apart. The door was barely working with half of what seemed to be a makeshift door. From the outside, Zhang Yang could clearly see many holes in the ceiling of the house. Right now, sun rays broke into the dark, solemn house, its interior barely illuminated only with pillars of light from the sun. It would never shelter any occupant from the rain.
Is this Smaug and Liya’s house?
"Young warrior! Have you purged the entire world of demons and spectres or do you have that much time in your hands to come here?" A hunchbacked older gentleman walked out of a neighboring house. With a walking stick in his wrinkled hand, he raised it to point at Zhang Yang provokingly.
Zhang Yang remained stoic. "Respected elder. I am a friend of Smaug in the army. Three years ago, as he lay dying, he told me about his wife and child. He told me to ensure that they lived in comfort. I should have come earlier, but I took an arrow to the knee."
The old man slowly lowered his walking stick and paced slowly towards Liya’s grave. He let out a long sigh. "Smaug was a brave man. When he was 11 years old, he could tear a tiger apart with his bare hands. When he was 18 years old, the idiot went on and charged into a dragon’s nest. He single handedly defeated a dragon! Since then, there were rumors going on about Smaug. They said that the Gods smiled upon him, that he was blessed with powers that rivaled the God of War himself! However, rumors were rumors. The young lad had so much potential. Yet he fell at such a young age…"
So, Smaug was a famous character. That was why he could still retain his memories even as a low-ranking specter soldier. He could even speak!
Zhang Yang nodded his head. "Smaug was indeed a respectable warrior! He was brave and valiant. Respected elder, could you tell me about his wife? How did Liya die?"
"Sigh…Smaug was such a reputable hero. But he betrothed a whore! Liya was once the most beautiful woman in this town. Before she was married to Smaug, many men had been courting her all day with songs and poems! However, when Smaug left us, she could not endure the lonesome nights. In the end, she had lured all the men in the town! That whore could have shared a bed with every man in this town! Eventually…after peppered with insults from the townspeople, she could not take it anymore and ended her own life!"
The old man lowered his head in silence.
Smaug was a man who loved his wife so. And the wife was a woman who clearly loved him so much that he could still retain his soul as a spectre. How could this woman be a whore?
Zhang Yang got down from his mount and unsummoned the bear. He summoned his courage and pushed the rotten door aside to enter the house. The first place he entered was the living room of the house. With one quick glance, he could tell that everything; the furniture, the table, the small rack on the side, was all on the verge of collapsing. Zhang Yang looked around for a little while and headed towards the bedroom. Inside the dark, damp room was a large bed that took two third of the entire bedroom. On the left was as wooden closet and on the right was a small nightstand. The bed was a mess, covered in nothing but dust.
Zhang Yang went towards the nightstand and pulled out a drawer. There, he saw a black, leather-bound diary. Looks like the truth could be written in this evidence.
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