Chapter 34. Akasha’s Snake (2)
Yeon-woo looked for Galliard as he killed the Orcs he encountered throughout his journey northeastward.
The ‘Baotri' that the Orc mentioned meant rugged rocky mountain. It was not easy to find a specific spot in the eastern desert area where everything around were rocky mountains.
Moreover, Orcs were not fools either. After noticing that their scouts weren’t coming back, they started sending groups consisting of more than a dozen Orcs and others even started to search for Yeon-woo on their own accord.
Fortunately, he managed to find Galliard’s cottage by then.
"Is this it?"
Yeon-woo muttered in a low voice as he stood in front of one of the mountains. It was the highest and steepest rocky mountain in the vicinity. The height of it made the other mountains around look small in comparison.
Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes and strengthened his eyesight.
Then, as if he had zoomed in with a camera, he found something barely peeking out from the tip of the mountain. It was a small cottage roughly supported by a few thick wooden pillars on a sloping cliff. It looked like it could collapse in any moment, but Yeon-woo shouted with joy because it was the same cottage he had seen in the diary.
His brother also did not know why Galliard kept moving around. He could only guess that it had something to do with chasing Akasha's Snake.
‘Let’s get in there first.'
Yeon-woo started to climb up the rocky mountain, lightly hitting the ground.
The slope was too steep and rugged to climb without a single piece of safety equipment, but thanks to his high stats and skills, it wasn't too difficult for Yeon-woo. All he had to do was to pinpoint the safe places to step on with his strengthened vision, and leap up with his strong leg muscles. Yeon-woo climbed so fast that before he knew it he had already landed on a small yard in front of the cottage.
And he knocked on the door.
But no sound was heard from the inside.
He expanded the scope of his senses and scanned inside the cottage, but he couldn't sense anything.
"Is anyone here?"
He couldn't just open the door and enter without the owner's permission.
In fact, Galliard was a character who seldom stayed at home and most of the time could be found outside walking around. So Yeon-woo sat on a bench in the yard, and began to wait for Galliard.
* * *
"Who are you?"
The sunset was spreading across the sky when Gilliard returned home. When he arrived, Yeon-woo was in the middle of his meditation. He immediately opened his eyes and greeted Gilliard.
"I don’t care about your name. I’m asking you what are you doing in front of my house?”
Galliard eyed at Yeon-woo up and down with a look full of suspicion.
But to Yeon-woo, Galliard was a very intriguing existence.
‘Demi-humans... They actually exist.'
A tall stature reaching about 190 centimeters, a sturdy but sleek body frame, brown skin tone, well-defined, handsome features... And then, the long, pointed ears. Galliard was not a human.
An Elf, one of the most prominent members of the demi-humans. Among them, he was a Dark Elf that was classified as a natural born warrior.
"I've been introduced by teammates. I'd like to buy something. Are you the Galliard?"
With a stiff expression, Galliard threw a freshly caught beast on the floor, and lowered his bow from his shoulder. He was getting ready for a fight.
"I'd like to get ‘Undine’s Goblet."
Galliard slightly creased his brows.
"Who told you that?"
"That asshole. I told him not to go babbling about this anymore."
Braham was the name of an old friend of Galliard. He was the person who had been originally trying to climb The Tower with him.
‘And he was also one of the people that Jeong-woo called his masters.’
Yeon-woo was complete stranger to Braham, but he didn’t care at all. He was going to leave Galliard as soon as he got the item he needed.
‘There’s no need to befriend him just because he was close to Jeong-woo.’
Galliard had nothing to do with the betrayal his brother had suffered. He had never entered The Tower, and had no will to intervene in any other business.
But still, it wouldn’t do him any good to reveal who he was. Even if he did, it would just make things awkward for both of them. For Yeon-woo, it was enough to know what kind of people his brother had connections with.
Galliard let out a deep sigh. Then he slung his bow back on his shoulder and picked up the beast he had dropped before.
Yeon-woo followed Galliard into the cottage. The inside was not much different from where ordinary hunters lived. Along the wall were stuffed heads of all kinds of beasts and various hunting weapons were placed on the floor. Some scraps of leather were scattered on the table.
"You can sit anywhere you want. Just give me some time to finish this."
Galliard pointed to a chair with his chin as he pushed the pieces of leather to the side and placed the beast on the table.
The beast he carried home had a slight resemblance to a deer, but it looked very different from what he had seen on Earth. The size was twice as big, and its legs were full of muscles. On its head, two sets of goat-like horns were tangled together.
Galliard took apart the beast at a rapid pace. He drained the blood, removed the flesh, and took out the guts.
Yeon-woo looked at his skills with admiration.
"You into this kind of stuff?"
Galliard peeked at Yeon-woo.
"So we were in the same boat."
Galliard smiled as he noticed the backpack Yeon-woo had brought. Some materials were poking out of the backpack.
Looking at Galliard's smile, Yeon-woo noticed that he had lowered his guard considerably.
Then after he was done, Galliard looked at Yeon-woo as he slammed the table with his blood-stained knife.
"All right. Let's talk about business. You want Undine's Goblet?"
It was a one time use artifact that could draw Akasha's Snake to the surface.
‘To be exact, it's more like its favorite food.'
The reason why Akasha's Snake appeared on the surface was to fill its hungry stomach. In order to satiate its massive body, his food had to fulfill one of two conditions. Either it had to be present in large quantities, or...
‘It had to be nutritious.’
The ‘Akasha’ in the name of Akasha’s Snake indicated the smallest unit of matter in the spiritual world. Others called it Ether, or Spirit Element(靈子).
Akasha’s Snake fed off of this spiritual energy. It wandered around the earth, absorbing energy from the ground, and often ambushed monster’s settlements to rob them of their vitality. As a result, wherever Akasha’s Snake passed by, it would turn into a wasteland where not a single blade of grass could grow. That's why the eastern part of Section E was filled with barren deserts and rocky mountains.
And now, it was around the time when the last remaining bit of Akasha would disappear from the eastern region. This was the time when Akasha’s Snake would suffer from hunger and thirst.
So considering the situation, Undine's Goblet was a very useful bait to lure out Akasha's Snake.
Undine's Goblet is an artifact that contains a great amount of Akasha. Of course, it is also the favorite food of Akasha's Snake. But the only problem was that,
‘Galliard is the only one who knows how to make Undine’s Goblet.’
Therefore, he was often visited by players who needed Undine's Goblet even for other reasons. But Galliard hid himself most of the time out of annoyance.
"You know what the condition is, right?”
He was talking about a condition, not a price.
Yeon-woo nodded his head.
"I do, roughly."
"Okay. Then let's start right away."
At that moment.
[The Dark Elf, Galliard, wants to test you. Your reward will be given only after passing this test.]
[Will you accept the test?]
Galliard's sharp gaze seemed to pierce through Yeon-woo’s mask.
‘So this is it, Galliard’s test.'
The condition for Galliard to give Undine’s Goblet was very simple. It was to pass the test he gave.
He never accepted anything else in exchange for the item. Only those who passed the test would receive Undine's Goblet as a reward.
The reason was unclear. It seemed like he was expecting something from those who passed the test, but no one had ever fulfilled his expectations, and the same test has being repeated for decades.
It was such a ‘weird thing’ for a player to do, but it was now considered as a matter of course, and that was why the system in The Tower accepted his test as a Hidden Quest.
Yeon-woo then nodded.
Then the message disappeared and a new window appeared.
[Hidden Quest / Galliard's Test]
Content: The Dark Elf, Galliard, has been testing many players for a long time in order to find someone ‘qualified’.
Being blessed by the wind, his feet are known to be as quick as the wind itself. Your task is to catch Galliard on the run. To pass the test, you must tag him at least five out of ten times.
Rewards: Rewards will be given according to the number of successes.
- 3 or more: Undine's Goblet
- 5 or more: Undine's Goblet + ??
Yeon-woo’s eyes glittered.
‘More than half, is it?’
It was a game of tag. Galliard required players to catch him, and players could use any way possible. He allowed them to set up traps, use their artifacts, or collaborate with teammates.
The players had to ‘touch' Galliard within a set amount of time for it to be considered as a success.
However, for decades, no more than five people had succeeded in tagging Galliard more than five times.
‘But if I can make it, I can get a skill from him.’
Yeon-woo knew what was hidden behind the question marks in the quest window. It was a skill that Galliard had.
It was a special skill that had been passed down within the Dark Elves.
‘Shunpo hastens ones movement and eliminates the sound produced by it. It’ll be of great help in combat.'
Yeon-woo’s primary weapon was his stealth and speed based on his strengthened senses. No other skill fit his combat style as good as Shunpo. That's why had Yeon-woo included acquiring it in his plans.
But there was one more reason why Yeon-woo needed Shunpo the most.