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Leanger got back on his horse and rode off.
Puffing her cheeks out, Han Ying Xue scoffed. "Dummy, I’d never known that some kid like you would actually manage to hook up with a princess! That, and the Elven Priestess of the Moon. What a player!"
Zhang Yang was not paying attention to her, as he was busy thinking about the reason why Princess Serena would actually summon him. Normally, an NPC would only interact with a player via direct communication and interaction. That applies to NPCs with complex AI as well. All things considered, Princess Serena had actually sent someone out to contact him. It was extremely odd.
Zhang Yang took out a piece of [Teleportation Scroll] and said, "You guys, continue your training. I’ll head back for a bit!"
With a flash of bright light, Zhang Yang arrived at Thunderstorm Castle and "jumped" to White Jade Castle via the Teleportation Points. He then made his way quickly to the castle doors.
"Peasants are not allowed into the royal grounds!" cried one of the eight guards who were blocking the castle entrance.
Zhang Yang said sternly. "I am Zhan Yu. I am here under the order of Princess Serena herself!"
One of the guards standing closest to Zhang Yang approached him. "Are you really Zhan Yu?"
"The one and only!"
The guard nodded his head and opened a pathway for him. "Follow me!"
The guard led Zhang Yang directly into the Royal Chamber of Star and Luna.
"Please wait here! I will notify the princess," said the guard as he entered the chamber. After a moment, he came out of the chamber and allowed Zhang Yang to proceed further. "You may enter."
Inside the chamber, there were the same 24 gigantic pillars, along with heavily armored soldiers, standing at the side of each pillars. All of them were Elite tier soldier with their Levels hidden away! The defense of the castle had been upgraded to a whole other level!
Serena was sitting at her throne reading a book when he entered. As his heavy footsteps got louder, she closed the book gently and set it aside to welcome Zhang Yang. "Ah. Zhan Yu, please sit!" said Serena as she gestured to a small chair near her throne.
Zhang Yang went up to the chair and made himself comfortable. "Princess, I have no idea why you were in a rush to meet me. Is there anything of importance?"
Serene did not respond to him immediately. Instead, she glanced to the left and right without looking at him and said, "Zhan Yu, do you know of the Imperial Heaven's Empire?"
"Yes. Imperial Heaven's Empire was humanity’s first and only empire. It was divided about 1,000 years ago, which was why there were many smaller kingdoms now," said Zhang Yang. It was the background of the game.
Serene turned to look directly at him. "My ambition, is to expand the great kingdom of White Jade to become the next Imperial Heaven's Empire!"
With no successor to the king, this princess had the heart of a real queen! That being said, it was already expected. If she did not have any intentions of expanding her kingdom, she would not have led the expedition to conquer Tukula Fortress in the first place, and would not have let herself become a hostage.
"How ambitious! We as thy followers, shan’t disappoint thee" Zhang Yang continued to kiss her *ss. At least, there was no one around to judge him.
Serena nodded her head in satisfaction. "You have proven yourself worthy when you planted the flag of White Jade Kingdom in the Tanilla Forest! Your actions have demonstrated the power of my kingdom!"
Zhang Yang was getting worried, thinking that she would have him surrender his territory back to the kingdom. It was the one food provider of Zhang Yang, and if she wanted it back, he would not be giving it up without a fight.
"All is well, but that’s not enough!" said Serena as she stood up suddenly. With a heroic stance, she roared, "I had advised my father, the king, to lead an army to enter the territory beyond the fortress but my father, the king wishes only to defend and not expand the borders of the kingdom! Before I succeed the throne, I am no position to command a large army in order to fulfill my ambitions! Therefore, I have to find another way!"
She paused a little. "Zhan Yu, do you know why the Imperial Heaven's Empire could rule over all of humanity and become history’s first ever human empire?"
"No!" That was not a lie. The game’s introduction did not include any further explanation.
Serena smiled and crossed her arms as she sat down gracefully back on her throne. " Legend has it, that Imperial Heaven's Empire had obtained a Celestial weapon called the Meteor Sword. Only with the sword, humanity had managed to suppressed all other beings in the world and built an invincible empire! However, it was also the cause of their downfall. Imperial Heaven's Empire was built on military strength, and was able to suppress other races in terms of military power. The following generations grew greedy. A greedy king is never loved by their subjects. They tried to enforce their will over the seven great generals, but were only brought down in retaliation!"
"Imperial Heaven's Empire has long lost it’s royal blood line. The original seven generals of war had expended all their military forces. It was by then, when the officials wanted to take over the military in the name of the Emperor. One by one, they rose up to take the lead, but their true intentions were to take control of the Meteor Sword and to rule over the nation! Left with no choice in their hands, the seven generals had to resort to forbidden magic and banish the entire palace into an alternate dimension. However, they had also created a key that could open the dimensional gateway. They keys have been split into seven parts. Each general kept a part and their descendants now hold it. To open the gates, one must gather all the parts. One can enter the palace from there and obtain the Meteor Sword!"
Serena continued. "After a thousand years, countless men have tried their best to search for the descendants of these seven generals, to search for the key parts, to obtain the Meteor Sword, but no one had succeeded! No one and no kingdom had ever been able to search for any clues! 7 years ago, I had sent spies out in various directions. After spending a large amount of gold, I have gathered the information about the location of the descendent of the seven generals! I know where they are! However, despite my efforts, father has vehemently disagreed! He thinks that the sword is a bad omen, a cursed weapon! That is why, I leave the search to you. Zhan Yu, you are my only hope in finding the sword!"
‘Ding! Serena had a quest for you: Search the Meteor Sword. Will you accept it? This quest will link to the main story quest. Complete the quest for a luxurious reward!’
A main story quest had just turned up at Zhang Yang door step!
Now Zhang Yang had finally understood the benefits of getting a good Relationship with Princess Serena! To think that she would deliberately seek him out for such a request!
Zhang Yang spoke out. "My princess, your wish is my command!’
Serena smiled and gave him a small pamphlet. "This is the current location of all the seven generals’ descendants. I cannot disobey my father, the king’s command. Therefore, the kingdom cannot support you in any way. You are on your own in this dangerous mission. Please be careful!"
"My Princess. Rest assured, I will complete the mission!" said Zhang Yang as he took the pamphlet.
"I will take you word for it. Please, hurry. I am not the only one who knows of this. The other seven kingdoms have already done the same thing! Please hurry!" said Princess Serena agitatedly.
After exiting the royal chamber, Zhang Yang flipped open the pamphlet and read the paper. What a pain, all seven NPC were all scattered in all different maps! Just travelling alone would be tough! Among the seven NPC, three were located in three different Level 70 maps. Three others were located three other different Level 80 maps. The last NPC is located in a Level 90 map! In that case, to finish this quest, Zhang Yang would have to grind his way to Level 90!
For a start, Zhang Yang could at least gather the three key fragments from the Level 70 maps. Zhang Yang opened the quest window and read the description to see it could be shared with others.
[Search the Meteor Sword] (Difficulty Level: S)
Quest Description: Princess Serena has ordered you to search for the ancient Celestial weapon, the Meteor Sword! The Celestial sword exists in the treasure vault within the royal palace of the Imperial Heaven’s Empire. However, the palace, the vault and the sword is currently trapped within an alternate dimension. First, you have to search for the seven key fragments to form a perfect key. Only then, you can open the dimensional gates to enter the palace. The same key could be used to open the treasure vault.
Progress: Meteor Sword 0/1
Unable to share. In the lower corner of the quest description, the option button to share the quest was grayed out.
"Noobie tank, what did the princess ask you to do?" ask Wei Yan Er in the party channel.
"Hehe, a main story quest!" said Zhang Yang with a smile on his face.
"…Woah! What are you waiting for! Share it! Let’s go! Come on! Share it!"
"Nope. The quest cannot be shared."
Zhang Yang first returned to the Thunderstorm Castle and went to Oz with the white bear panting beneath him. One of the seven descendants, named Alousous, was located somewhere in the small town of Lagguda. The information did not mention his exact position, neither about the exact position of the town Lagguda.
Riding around like the wind, Zhang Yang had spent over 3 hours and had finally came to a small, ancient looking town. The entrance of the town had a large clock tower that did not move; the long hand was pointing at 37 minutes while the short hand was pointing at 1. It seems that the clock was broken.
Zhang Yang patted the bear’s head and the bear slowed down. Slowly, it walked through the streets of the ancient town. The strangest thing about this place, was the fact that it was shining brightly outside, yet, the moment Zhang Yang entered stepped into the town, everything turned dark and gloomy. Even the sky was void of sun light yet it did not seem to be night fall. A cold wind blew by, sending dusts and a few piece of paper rolling off the floor, giving a ghostly feel.
Where are all the people?
With a dead silence looming over the place, only the bear’s footsteps could be heard. With each step it took, there was nothing else, besides the sound of its footsteps and the echoes it produced. That sort of atmosphere had given Zhang Yang a cold chill down his spine. The place was just too eerie for him to be alone. After a quick search, Zhang Yang arrived at the center plaza of the town. Standing there, Zhang Yang scanned the entire town and could not even find a shadow of a person. The entire place was completely devoid of any sign of human activity! It was as if some form of famine or plague had robbed the town of all life.
Clak. Clak. Clak.
Footsteps echoed behind Zhang Yang. Along with it, came the sound of ragged breathing as if someone was breathing through a mask. It was so terrifying that he did not even dare turn around to meet this approach.
Shaking, Zhang Yang tried to calm himself and gripped the hilt of the sword tighter. Props to the game developers for such convincing effects! The virtual atmosphere was so real that it could even induce a heart attack for the weak-willed.
"Young man~~~" came a shady voice from behind.
With all the strength he had, Zhang Yang pulled out the sword from the sheath at lightning speed and, ready to slash whoever is was that surprised him. However, before the blade landed on its target, Zhang Yang quick reflexes saw that the person behind him was an older man with a walking stick, and was hunched back. Zhang Yang stopped the blade immediately with both of his hands, creating a powerful after shock that blew away some of the dust on the floor.
Zhang drew a long breath, calming down when he saw the name tag on the old man. He then slammed the sword back into its scabbard and walked closer to the older man.
[Alousous] (Normal, Humanoid)
This man was the person that he was looking for! This NPC seemed so weak and a simple draft would easily blow him to his feet. Could Zhang Yang simply kill the man and take the key? Zhang Yang was seriously considering it in his thoughts. Technically, a majority of all the quests would not be so simply. If he killed the NPC, it would definitely not drop anything, instead, it might cause the quest to be stuck forever, since the key fragment would be forever lost!
That was what the game developers wanted the players to think. In truth, the NPC would simply die in a quick swing of the sword. After considering it for some time, Zhang Yang had decided to just act rationally. "Old man, what had happened here? Where are all the other people living here?"
Alousous held the walking stick closely and stood still. "They…they have all plunged into eternal sleep! Young man, this place is too dangerous! Please, leave this hellish abyss while you still can!"
Zhang Yang got down from his white bear and said, "Old man, could you please explain to me, why are the people in this town in eternal sleep?"
Obviously, he could not just walk away. How else would he obtained the key fragment?
"Sigh! Please do not think highly of yourself! There were many, many others like you! Young adventurers who thought they could take on the world! Many had come and many had refused to listen and chose to remain. In the end, they met the same fate as the citizens here. Never again to have a waking moment!" Alousous sighed heavily.
Zhang Yang could not help but ask. "If you could just explain, how did an old man like yourself escape and remained awake?"
"How, you ask? That’s because I wasn’t as greedy and gullible as the rest of them!" said Alousous while he shook his head. "Young man, do you intend to stay?"
"Sigh!" Alousous sighed again. "This town used to be a beautiful and peaceful little town. People were happily working, happily living. Until 20 years ago, or 30 years…an evil witch came into town and offered a lie. The lie told the citizens that they could attain immortality by drinking the potion she had made!"
The old man shook his head. "One fateful night, 1.37 midnight. The entire town was frozen in time. Just like that clock over there. No living being in this town could move! No one would ever awaken from their dreams! They will never grow old! Neither will they awaken!"
"Did anyone defeat the witch?"
"She is a powerful witch, young man. Those who had drank on the potion will extend her own life span, killing her once will kill one of the citizens here!"
"Is there any other way to defeat her?"
Alousous dwelled in his thoughts for a moment before he answered. "There is a way. There is a Mirror of Truth that belonged to the queen, it could dispel all evil spells! That alone could defeat the witch! Young man, if you truly wish to help this town, please don’t rush into things. Leave this place and head to Hera's Castle, and retrieve the Mirror of Truth to defeat the witch!"
‘Ding! Alousous has a quest for you: Retrieve the Mirror of Truth! Will you accept it?’
…There is but one problem with this quest. The Mirror of Truth had already been destroyed by him, a long time ago! Is this what they call shooting oneself in the leg? Zhang Yang laughed. He accepted the quest and bid the old man goodbye. "Old man, I shall try my best!"
The game would never make a quest impossible to be completed. That is why, even if the Mirror of Truth is destroyed, there had to be another way to eliminate the witch. Still, he must visit Hera's Castle. Zhang Yang then rode hurriedly towards Hera’s Castle. Crossing rivers and over the mountains, Zhang Yang finally arrived at the ancient castle.
At the gates, Zhang Yang got down the bear and talked to one of the guards. "My name is Zhan Yu and I am here to speak with the Queen!"
"Kah Kah Kah! Do you think the Queen will talk to any sloppy adventurer who comes up to her castle?" one of the guards laughed.
"I came from the town of Lagguda. Something has happened to the town and I am here to seek the assistance of the Queen!" Zhang Yang explained. Since the quest had instructed him to talk to Shaenita in Hera’s Castle, the word Lagguda should be an important keyword or pass phrase.
"Lagguda?" Bingo. One of the guards expressed his concern and quickly replied. "Wait here. I shall inform the Queen about this."
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