Read End Online: Volume 6 Online

Authors: D Wolfin

Tags: #Romance, #litRPG, #game, #MMO, #virtual reality, #Fantasy

End Online: Volume 6 (10 page)

BOOK: End Online: Volume 6
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An hour later, we have all
packed up our belongings and begin to head back toward Kano City. Our speed is
much quicker than the way here so I suspect we will reach it by dusk.

During the journey, Mason
edges over to me before whispering words that only I can hear, “Lost… How, was
last night?”

“W-what do you mean?” I
ask him, but the intent behind his words was clear.

“You know. Fen, Verde…
It’s exciting right? A scared girl moving closer to the-“

“You! You set it up from
the beginning, didn’t you?!” I practically shout and all eyes fall on me.

“Shhh, not too loud.
Listen, Lost… I have some stuff to tell you, no, everybody later on. That was
my apology to you.”

“What? Apology? Are you
saying that Verde is an apology? What are you talking about Mason?”

“Setting up such a thing
is the apology. It is all I could do. I will tell everyone and say sorry later
on.”

“Later on? For what?”

Instead of answering,
Mason falls back to join his brother. Everyone else notices the exchange and is
curious as well. I guess we’ll all have to wait.

Back at Kano City, the
city lights are just coming to life when we walk through the gate. We head
directly to the castle and find the place to register our guild.

“Good evening, how can I
help you?” a bespectacled nekomata NPC greets me when I approach.

“Ah, yes, I would like to
register a guild. Am I at the right place?”

“Indeed, you are.
Registering a guild will cost twenty thousand gold and you must also have six
initial members. Do you have these things?”

“Yes, here is the gold. We
have seven members, too.”

I indicate the party
members behind me, Fen included. The gold was thankfully prepared by all of us
beforehand. I pitched in six thousand while everyone else split the remaining
fourteen thousand between themselves. My winnings from the ‘Royal Summer
Tournament’ were ten thousand gold, and with my personal savings I still have
around five thousand gold left after contributing to the guild creation fund.

“Apologies,” the nekomata
with glasses indicates toward Fen, “but a companion cannot join a guild. Shall
I form it with the remaining six of you?”

“Ah, yes, please.”

I look at Fen beside me,
but she is unfazed by being told she cannot join the guild. I guess as long as
she is beside me, she will be happy. She has the guild tattoo so she may as
well be a part of the guild anyway.

A window appears in front
of me asking to provide the guild name and emblem. I immediately write ‘The
Wanderers’ and use my tattoo as the guild emblem. The guild name was thankfully
not already in use, otherwise we would have had a big problem.

I let out a sigh of
relief, since all the formalities are complete and our guild has officially
formed. A guildstone appears in my inventory that can be placed in our guild
base to serve as a resurrection point for all guild members.

All our tattooed guild
emblems suddenly shine with a golden light that catches all of us by surprise.
I look at the others, who are as lost as I am in this situation. I quickly ask
the nekomata with glasses about it, but he acts as if he can’t see anything.

The golden light soon
fades, and our previously black tattoos have suddenly become a dark golden
color. This is something I have never seen nor heard of before. I ask Mason,
who is usually the most knowledgeable, but even he is at a loss here.

We decide to ignore it for
now. There are no benefits from it, but there are also no detriments. I notice
Fen’s tattoo has also become golden, but she isn’t in the list of guild
members, so perhaps it doesn’t have anything to do with a guild.

Heaving a sigh, I lead
everyone out of the castle and toward the teleport point at the church.

***************************************************

“And this will be the
location for our guild!” I exclaim extravagantly, waving my arms through the
air like I saw some notable game show host do a year or so ago.

Apart from Verde,
everyone’s jaws almost drop off their faces. We did just leave the snowy region
around Swordbreak, follow a hidden cave and emerge into a large cavern where it
is spring inside. There is green grass, and hundreds of apple trees are bearing
fruit.

This is precisely where I
first met Fen, but the others don’t know that. I also checked with PeachStar,
and she has already lost interest in the cave. She is happy as long as she can
occasionally come and pick some apples for her personal consumption. She has
done an excellent job of keeping this place a secret so she deserves at least
that much.

“Why is there such a place?”
Mason asks in a mixture of admiration and confusion.

“I found this place a long
time ago. I thought it would make an excellent base for us.”

CaptainGordon’s face is so
red it is almost purple in excitement, “T-t-to ‘ave such a ‘idden base… I-I-I c-can’t
wa-ait!!”

“Now, I hate to put a
dampener on the mood, but we still need to decide on what to do in the future.
Sir Laurence, Verde, and I will be away three or four times a week. It is up to
everyone if you are happy to wait for us, or go off and do your own thing. We
don’t want to hold you back, so it is your decision.”

Sir Laurence and Verde nod
their heads, acknowledging their views. Mason looks at us and the troubled
expression once again appears on his face. He eventually musters up enough courage
to speak.

“Everyone, there is
something I have wanted to tell you for a while… But, I couldn’t bring myself
to do it. I re-really didn’t want to be left out of the guild so I didn’t say
anything… The thing is… I used to be a part of… ‘The Swords of Light’.”

For some reason the name
sounds familiar, but I can’t seem to place it so I ask Mason, “The what?”

“The guild. The guild ‘The
Swords of Light’. The man, Chronix, keeps finding us because I was the one
telling them where we were…”

Everything seems to click
into place at that moment. Chronix is the person that has put Fen’s life in
danger multiple times. I glare coldly at Mason while remembering every time
Chronix happened to find us. I had suspected that someone was telling him where
we were, but I never suspected Mason.

Noticing my glare, Mason
started sweating before hastily saying, “I-I’m sorry. I know he has been
causing trouble. I’ll do anything, but please, let me keep being a part of this
guild!”

“Why?” I ask, my opinion
of Mason plummeting.

“Money. My family is
really poor in real life, and I needed the money. I couldn’t turn down what he
offered me.”

Some of my anger abates
upon hearing his rationale. I can understand because I was also in the same
situation as him after the accident, in desperate need of money but nowhere to
turn. Verde and Sir Laurence aren’t angry in the least. After all, for them
this is just a game for fun.

“…Fine. You are already
one of us anyway. But you must be absolutely honest from now on. Tell me, can I
expect to run into Chronix again soon?”

“Ah, that. No, the last
time I spoke with him, I said we were nearly at Koga City, so he should be
waiting near there for us. Although I am nervous with having our base so near
Iceridge. If he was to use a scroll to search for your location, he could find
this place.”

“We should be safe for a
while, and I won’t be spending a lot of time in the base anyway.”

Clearing my throat, I
address everyone once more and ask them what they will be doing.

“I’ll stay ‘ere an’ make
the best base ye e’er seen!!” CaptainGordon even starts to lose his pirate
accent while panting. I worry about him, but his enthusiasm is good at least.

“Matrix and I will take a
different path. We want to advertise the guild and hopefully bring in a few new
members. Of course, only the upper members will get to know our secret base
location. We will need to block them from respawning at the guild base as
well.” Mason speaks with a lot less tension, clearly feeling like the pressure
on his conscience is now relieved.

I nod and agree with their
decisions. I hadn’t planned on recruiting new guild members originally, but
after some thought decides that it is for the best. I instruct Mason that the
guild objective for now will be locating and collecting the mysterious stone
tablets. If any guild member is to acquire one of them, he or she will
immediately be promoted to an upper guild member and permitted residence in our
secret base.

I shake my head to myself,
wondering why I didn’t think of such a brilliant idea earlier.

‘Wait, if Mason was
the spy, then what is the deal with Mouse always appearing wherever I am? I
honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he appeared in the secret base to sell some
of his wares,’
 I silently think to
myself in confusion.

 

– Lost –

After making the decision
to take on different roles for our new guild, ‘The Wanderers’, we all travel to
Iceridge before parting ways. I take the lead with Fen and Mason on either side
of me, with Verde, Sir Laurence, Matrix, and CaptainGordon following close
behind.

The south-eastern area of
the new Kingdom of Dalbe, also known as the former Kingdom of Glace, or
south-east-most Human Realm, is currently going through a light snowstorm. A
few small snowflakes land on my face, but quickly melt away. I am not
discomforted from the cold thanks to my cloak blocking the effects of nearly
the entire storm, but I do feel a lingering dampness.

The distant walls of
Iceridge can be seen after a few hours of walking. Everyone, apart from Fen, is
slightly miserable from walking through the storm. Perhaps it was due to the
other night when Verde crawled into our bed, but she is closer to me than
usual. She somehow gets under my cloak and presses her body against mine,
transmitting a pleasant warmth. The downside is that it is incredibly difficult
to walk like this, and the wolf girl violently refuses to stop.

Finally arriving and
entering the gates of Iceridge, quite a few players entering and exiting take
note of our party. Or, more accurately, they take note of Fen, whose head and
shoulders are emerging from within my cloak. Some looks contain blatant
jealousy, while others seem to be surprised.

“Lost, now that we’re
here, Matrix and I will go and find a place to start recruiting some guild
members,” Mason says politely next to me.

I have never been good
with goodbyes, so I awkwardly say, “Ah, yes. Please send me a private message
if you need anything.”

“Will do. Matrix, let’s
go!”

Mason gives Fen and me a
smile free of burden as he leaves, even hinting toward Verde with his eyes. The
gesture isn’t missed by Fen, whose grip on me tightens considerably and makes
the already difficult walking posture now impossible.

“Fen… can you please let
me walk?”

Fen turns her head and
gives me a chilly look, but maintains her silence. Seeing that no progress is
going to happen, I sweep an arm under her and pick her up in a princess carry.
The movement breaks her grip on me, but she isn’t displeased in the least. It
is actually the opposite, with Fen kissing my cheek and jaw several times
before nestling her head against mine and enjoying being carried.

Quite a few players around
stare as we walk past. One particular party rushes toward us and the party
leader, a man wearing leather armor, excitably says, “Lost! My name’s
ForgetTomorrow, I have been a massive fan of yours for a long time! Can I take
a screenshot of us together?!”

Still holding Fen in my
arms, I feel like I am in an awkward situation, but I still try to reply to
ForgetTomorrow positively while smiling amiably.

“Ah, yes, of course. Feel
free to do so.”

ForgetTomorrow, and all of
his party members, group around me before several camera snaps sound from the
air. Verde, Sir Laurence and CaptainGordon join in for the last few screenshots
before the other party leaves excitedly.

CaptainGordon also leaves
the party to purchase metal and other materials to build the guild hall with. I
hand over a thousand gold which should be able to buy a large quantity.

The snow on the ground in
Iceridge has thickened from the snowstorm, so there are a large amount of NPCs
and low-level players patrolling the street with shovels. It is a strange sight
to see as I never took on such a job when I began in Iceridge. Of course, I
couldn’t talk to NPCs without gaining infamy so I didn’t accept much.

I lead the way for the
remaining three members and companion in my party. We all began playing in this
city, so all the sights are somewhat nostalgic.

There are a couple of
locations I want to go to now that I have returned to Iceridge. The first is
the player’s bazaar where I first met Mouse. I notice Sir Laurence walking
beside Verde and glaring at any players who look at her.

‘He really likes her,
doesn’t he? I feel worried that he may go crazy if he finds out about the other
night… I’m sorry Sir Laurence, Markus, I will never mention it,’
 I discreetly think to myself.

When we arrive at the
player’s bazaar, I can tell nearly all of the merchants have changed to
different players. I stroll through and have a look at the items for sale, but
most of them are not suited to my level as this is an area for newer players. I
do notice that there is a much wider variety of light armors and shortswords
compared to what there used to be.

Verde and Sir Laurence
disappear at some point while I’m looking through the stalls which helps me
convince Fen to walk beside me without getting in my way.

After exploring half of
the bazaar, I meet the friendly face of Peachstar behind an unremarkable stall.
She looks exactly the same as when I first met her – a short girl with pink
hair that flows like water tied up in twin tails.

“Peachstar, I thought I
may find you here.” I smile at the small girl who beams when she sees me.

“Looost! It’s been sooo
long! How have you been? Haaave you been well? I was juuust thinking ‘bout you
the other day!”

I groan inwardly after
hearing her talk. It has been so long I forgot how much of a headache she can
be. Just remembering the previous conversations is already enough for me to
become dizzy.

“Umm, Peachstar. Yes, I
have been well. Actually though, I want to get straight to the point today. I
was curious about Mouse. Do you know who he is or where he comes from?”

“What do you meean? Mousey
is Mousey, a trader juuust like me! I don’t know wheeere he comes from more
thaaan any other merchant.”

“Urgh, Peachstar, how did
you meet?”

“Nooot telling unless you
have sooomething for me!”

“I collected some of those
apples you can have if you like.”

“Nooo!! I ate tooo many of
them and now I caaan’t stand them!”

“…So that’s why…
Nevermind, I have some meals I cooked and kept in my inventory if you prefer?”

“OooOOhh, hurry up and
give them then!”

I hand over several meals
of meat and vegetables to Peachstar before rubbing my temples to try and abate
the accumulating headache from talking with her.

“Now, please, how did you
meet Mouse?”

“Yayyy! Ahem, I met Mousey
because he was a merchant near me!”

“What?! That’s it?!”

“Yeeep. Although it wasn’t
looong before I met you, and strangely I nevvver heard or saw him before that.”

I shake my head and walk
away from Peachstar after a curt goodbye. Fen looks at me strangely while I am
holding my head and tries to help by hugging me. The wolf girl only succeeds in
creating an awkward situation in the middle of the bazaar that doesn’t help and
is instead detrimental.

With one hand still on my
forehead, I hold Fen’s hand and lead her away from the bazaar. There is still
one more place I want to visit in the city, but it is late and that place is
also headache inducing, so I decide to visit it tomorrow. After sending a
private message to the rest of the party bidding farewell, I log off with Fen
to rest.

Inside the locker, I
unequip all of my clothing and climb into bed. Fen finds her way into bed only
a few breaths later. With a throbbing pain in my head, I wrap my arms around
Fen and pull her close to me. The warmth she gives off with her arms grabbing
onto my back creates a pleasant sensation that numbs the pain I am feeling and
helps me fall into a deep sleep.

***************************************************

The next day, I have class
at the university, but I am up early enough that there are still a few hours
before Markus comes to pick me up. I leave my locker and remove the virtual
head gear, glancing at the pre-dawn sky outside my window, making some food and
returning to End Online where the sun is currently high in the sky.

‘Yeah, I should have
enough time,’
 I think to myself
while determinedly walking through the streets of Iceridge with Fen at my side.

My destination is the
Iceridge Military Academy, where I did the tiresome beginner’s training and
received the ‘Advanced Military Arts’ skill. The instructor, Centurion Markus,
told me back then to return when I was stronger, but I have pointedly avoided
it so I would not have to deal with him again.

The military academy and
the stone monuments of soldiers out front are blanketed in fresh snow just as I
remember from when I first started playing. Hesitating and having second
thoughts about coming, I decide it is better to put up with any situation that
may arise if it benefits me. Even being just a little bit stronger would make
it a little easier to collect items to sell for real money.

Just inside the main
entrance, there’s a prim and regal receptionist with glasses and blond hair
tied up in a bun. I notice that her signature white uniform has changed
slightly, most likely due to losing the grand war between the kingdoms. There
is now a yellow and red patch on each shoulder with the design of two swords
crossing. It is definitely the symbol for the Kingdom of Dalbe.

“Can I help you?” The
receptionist briefly looks up to glance at me before returning to the paperwork
in front of her, ignoring Fen as if she didn’t exist.

“Ah, yes, I’m here to meet
with Centurion Markus.”

“He is not currently on
duty.”

“Umm, may I ask where he
is?” I feel incredibly nervous at the frigid stare this receptionist gives me
in response to my question.

The receptionist seems to
consider for a while before stating, “He is in his quarters. Should you know
where that is, you may go see him.”

“I do. Thank you.”

Not bothering to see me
off, the receptionist goes back to completely ignoring me. I glance in her
direction a few times as I walk toward one of the rear doors. Not being stopped
for one reason or another, I feel assured that it is fine to go see the
instructor.

Centurion Markus is indeed
in his quarters, the same location where he rewarded me with the cloak that I
still use. His angry glare turns in my direction the moment I enter the room
after knocking.

The centurion instantly
recognizes me, stands up and speaks with a voice loud enough to make the
windows rattle.

“LOST! IT HAS BEEN TOO
LONG! HAVE YOU FARED WELL?!”

I secretly wish for a
player item that replicates the effects of a pair of earplugs, but sadly none
exist. I immediately try to change topics to shorten my conversation with the
military leader.

“Oh, yes, and I have come
back now that I am stronger as you requested.”

“Did I?!”

“Yes, you did. It was
after I did that quest for you.”

“HAHAHA, I DID, DIDN’T
I?!”

“Yes! You did!”

“No need to yell! Well, I
wonder what I should do now?!”

“Could you teach me how to
become stronger? Like you said you would.”

“NO CAN DO!”

My patience is starting to
run short with the man, but I forcefully restrain myself as much as possible for
the greater cause.

“Umm, why not?”

“Because you don’t have
‘Advanced Military Arts’ anymore!”

“What? Yes I do.”

“That’s a part of your
Class Skill, isn’t it?!”

“It did become a part of
my Class Skill.”

“Then it isn’t a skill on
its own anymore. I CAN’T TRAIN IT!!”

Thinking about what he
just said, despite the incredible volume, I begin to understand what the
purpose of returning was.

‘So returning was to
evolve the skill and have it grow stronger. I would expect him to evolve my
Class Skill instead as ‘Advanced Military Arts’ is a part of it, but I think my
Class Skill is already of the highest grade so what could it possibly evolve
into?’

Just as I am about to
leave, Centurion Markus’ booming voice stops me. “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?! It has
been so long, stay awhile!”

I try to excuse myself
with different reasons, but the instructor moves with surprising dexterity as
he maneuvers between me and the door, preventing me from leaving with his bulky
body.

Perhaps it is a privilege
of being an NPC, or he is simply at a level I cannot fathom, but he easily
intercepts me when I try to use my speed to escape past him.

Instead of falling back to
my last resort and using ‘Partial Draconic Transformation’, I turn my head and
quietly ask Fen, “Can you please help me out?”

“Okay,” the wolf girl says
bashfully as the air surrounding her sharply drops in temperature.

Centurion Markus also
notices the chill pervading the air and his previous happy expression turns to
one of fury.

BOOK: End Online: Volume 6
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