Read End Online: Volume 6 Online

Authors: D Wolfin

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

End Online: Volume 6 (19 page)

BOOK: End Online: Volume 6
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“…Is that why you were
saying you wouldn’t die? You won’t die because of your high health?”

“No, the others and I are
the only ones that can kill each other. This,” Fen indicates to her body again,
“…is weak. But they cannot kill it.”

I assume that the ‘Others’
are the AIs, while Fen refers to other players as ‘They’. It’s a little
difficult to figure out who she is talking about each time, but the principle
is easy enough.

“If your health runs out,
however, won’t you die?”

“No… If my health reaches
zero, I will only go to sleep until it is recovered. The others would be able
to kill me while I am asleep though.”

Hearing Fen’s reason and
thinking back on all the times I painstakingly tried my hardest to protect her
from other players, I’m not sure whether I should laugh or cry.

I ask Fen other questions
about the AIs I never thought of before, and get vague answers that I can make
some truth out of. The AIs are fighting in various locations, but their numbers
don’t dwindle. When one AI perishes to another, a new one is born somewhere in
the world.

Fen is still only ‘Queen
Class’, but once she nears ‘Empress Class’, as I imagine it will be called, the
other ‘Emperor Class’ AIs will most likely chase her down and kill her before
she gets strong enough to be a threat to them, lowering their chances of
acquiring the stone tablets.

Fen had another AI that
was friendly with her and would protect her. He was also the one that hid her
inside the cave because she was still too young and weak. He was an ‘Emperor
Class’ too, but unfortunately he was injured in a fight over half a year ago
and his whereabouts are unknown. The one that Fen called her brother is
extremely strong, and an ice wolf just like her. Most shockingly of all is his
name though: Fenrir.

I propose finding him to
help deal with Grael, but Fen doesn’t know if even he would give up his life to
allow her to accept the “Mother’s Inheritance”. Another plan is to trick Grael
into his human form where he will be greatly weakened before fighting him, but
that is another poor plan.

Only when reaching ‘King
Class’ can the AIs turn into a human, but have the strength severely diminished
while in that form. But once they reach ‘Emperor Class’, they can still become
human, but their original strength remains.

In the midst of our
conversation, I suddenly get a message from Gladox and jump in surprise.

“Lost, I found your
tablet. At least I think this is it, it looks similar to how you described it.”

“I will come straight
there! Where is it?”

“It’s at the Koga Heritage
Museum, right here in Koga City.”

I’m quite surprised by it
being directly here in the city, but that makes finding it so much easier. Now
all we will have to work out is how to get it.

I notify Sir Laurence and
Verde about it being found, and we all quickly converge on the building soon
after. The Koga Heritage Museum is a large building with many NPC guards
stationed around it. This is a heritage site to the city and likely holds many
unique artifacts, so the presence of the guards doesn’t seem out of place.

I walk into the building
with Sir Laurence, Verde, and Fen, quickly finding Gladox sitting on a bench
near the entrance.

“There aren’t many players
here,” I note as I look around.

Gladox smiles knowingly
before replying, “Indeed. People play the game because they love fantasy,
quests, adventure, fighting and guilds. Barring some exceptions, there are very
few people who are interested in places such as this. The only players here are
those that are searching for new quests.”

As much as I hate to admit
it, I’m also the same. I wouldn’t casually come to a location like this for
sightseeing. I am interested in ancient artifacts, but this building simply
doesn’t have that kind of vibe about it. I secretly wonder how Gladox even
found the stone tablet in such a discreet location.

“It’s over this way,”
Gladox waves his arm extravagantly and proudly leads us to where it is.

We walk through several
corridors to get to the location where various weapons, armor, and other
trinkets are put on display. The items once belong to fabled characters in the
game and are rendered famous in its lore. I can’t help but look at the rust on
some of the older items and feel sorrow at how poorly they are maintained.

Guards casually patrol the
area and glance at any players nearby to make sure they aren’t touching
anything. When a player moves too close to an item, the guard would discreetly
get closer to catch that player unaware should they do anything not permitted.

In one particular room in
the center of the building, there is an unassuming glass display with a stone
tablet in it. Standing in front of the display is a player in his late twenties
wearing casual clothing with two golden samurai swords at his hip.

I feel like there is
something off about the player as we approach him and the glass case when
suddenly Fen shifts to the side and hides behind me.

The man with the two
golden blades at his hip turns around and looks through me with a penetrating
gaze before saying, “There’s no use hiding, girl. I knew you were here the
moment you entered the room.”

Fen’s hands tremble
slightly on my back; I have never seen or felt her this scared before. I’m not
an idiot and quickly gather that this player is in fact one of the other AIs.
My ‘Creature Analysis’ brings up nothing on his stats as he is currently
regarded as a player by the system, which my skill doesn’t work on.

“What do you want?” I ask
the man resolutely while trying to discern if he is ‘King Class’, or ‘Emperor
Class’.

“The same thing that the
girl behind you wants. Only, she doesn’t have the strength required. Turn
around and leave this place. Leave this city. Don’t come back. It will be the
end for you otherwise.”

Sir Laurence walks forward
menacingly and comes to a stop before the man. With his height, the prince
looks down on him from above as he becomes intimidating toward him.

“Threatening a girl is an
unforgivable act. You will pay for your crime by my blade. As soon as you step
outside the city, I will cut you down.”

I am about to call out for
that idiotic prince to shut up and get back here when the man with the two
swords strikes out suddenly with his palm. Sir Laurence reacts with lightning
reflexes and brings his shield up to block the attack.

It doesn’t work out as Sir
Laurence might have planned however, as the force behind the palm was much more
violent than even I would have imagined. The palm hits the shield and the two
meter tall Sir Laurence is blown back a full five meters as he continues to
brace his shield in a guard stance. The one most shocked is Sir Laurence
himself.

“Get back here, you fool!”
I call out to him and stop him from attacking again. I am thankful there are no
other players in the room to cause a commotion.

Nevertheless, the three
guards in the room reacted, immediately moving in on the AI player who
attacked. They block him off with spears and shields and threaten to take him
in should he attack another player again.

The golden swordsman
casually raises his empty hands and apologizes to the guards before they go
back to their original positions. He gives our group one more glance before
turning back to the stone tablet and seems to ponder something, choosing to
ignore us for now.

I manage to get a glance
at the stone tablet in the moment the AI player turn back to the display. It is
a little different from the one I won in the tournament at the Swordbreak
Colosseum, but it is definitely one of the other tablets.

“We’re leaving,” I state
to the others before placing my arm around Fen for comfort and leading everyone
away. I will explain the situation to them once we find a tavern to stay in.

Fen has always been
arrogant toward other players and never shows fear. That is an obvious effect
resulting from being immortal against them. Against the other AIs however, she
has seemingly had little interaction with them. Now that she is back in the
game network, she obviously feels incredibly vulnerable to them.

There is one reassuring
thing though that gives me confidence. Based off of the power the golden
swordsman displayed, his human body is under the same restriction similar to
Fen. This means that he is only ‘King Class’.

He is obviously planning
on taking the stone tablet, so we just have to take it first or take it from
him. Different plans start to form in my mind as we take our leave from the
Koga Heritage Museum.

 

- Lost -

“Why are we leaving!? I
could have taken him!” Sir Laurence states bravely, puffing out his chest for
Verde’s benefit.

“No, you couldn’t. Not
alone at least. He is an AI, just like Fen.”

“What!?” Sir Laurence and
Verde both cry out in surprise. Gladox seemed to already have figured it out
and lightly sighs.

“He is strong, extremely
strong. I don’t want to fight him if we don’t have to.”

“How strong is he compared
to Grael?” Sir Laurence asks, trying to gauge his strength.

“Compared to Grael?” I
repeat his question amusedly. “Grael would flatten him instantly.”

Gladox’s curiosity is
piqued, and he asks in a whisper, “Lost, who’s Grael?”

“He’s another AI, but you
should stay away from him. If it were him who hit Sir Laurence in the museum,
our knight would be dead and at least half the building would have collapsed.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“...”

I wish I could tell Gladox
I was kidding, but I don’t think I have seen Grael’s true strength yet so I
could still be underestimating him.

We walk back to the tavern
and buy a few tankards of ale. The taste of the drink is bitter, but it’s
refreshing in this humid environment.

“What will we do next?”
Verde asks curiously, unsure how we’re going to try for the tablet.

“I don’t expect there to
be a quest for it, considering that the tablet is in a museum and considered a
precious artifact of the city. The only option left is to steal it.”

“You think we can do
that?” Gladox asks hesitantly.

“Yes. It is risky, but
possible. The museum is an NPC-run building, thus it will be closed after dusk.
Only the taverns and a few select buildings run by NPCs are open during the night.
So, all we have to do is break in and steal it.”

“Surely it won’t be that
easy.”

“True, I doubt it will be.
There could be patrolling guards and the most important areas might be
protected by the system, but we need to get the tablet before the AI swordsman
does...” I can’t help but frown as I think of all the possible hurdles between
us and our objective.

“This is beyond difficult.
If it is protected by the system, it is an impossible mission.” Gladox
despairingly shakes his head.

Coming up with a possible
idea to avoid the system protection, I turn my head and whisper my thoughts
into Fen’s ear. After receiving a nod in return, I feel some relief from the
pressure on my shoulders. As this trial of obtaining the stone tablet is
originally meant for the AIs, any system protection that is designed to block a
player will be unable to stop Fen.

“There won’t be any
problems with system protection,” I state confidently. “Our biggest problem is
still time. How long do you think we have to prepare and steal the item before
that AI does?”

“Even with its strength it
has no guarantee of securing the tablet successfully, so it will also need to
make preparations,” Gladox mused. “If it were a player who has to log off due
to human requirements, they would probably take at least a week to prepare for
something like this before making an attempt. As it isn’t operating under the
same constraints, I would assume that it may take action much sooner. Perhaps
even tonight, if today wasn’t the first time the AI found it.”

“Then we need to act fast.
I want to get it and disappear before he realizes it’s gone. Verde, how are
your stealth and pickpocketing skills?”

Verde perks up, “Ah! They
are a part of my Class Skill, which is currently level 35. Unless someone has
some sort of protective item or skill to prevent me, I can steal just about any
loose accessory or weapon.”

“What about lockpicking?”

At this, she grimaces
slightly. “I haven’t really done it much before, but a few simple locks won’t
be a problem.”

“Isn’t that skill needed
to disable dungeon traps?”

“I’m not very good at trap
detection. Besides, you always trigger them and come out fine in the end.”

I pause, not sure if I
should overlook Verde’s comment for now. So she is capable of detecting and
disabling traps, but doesn’t bother because she thinks I will be fine
regardless. Having suffered through many unfortunate dungeon traps over the
past few months, I haven’t died yet and the scant few I did manage to avoid
helped increase my luck, so I suppose she is slightly justified. I make a
mental note to bring it up again at a better time.

“We will most likely need
locks picked on any doors or windows we have to go through, and of course the
glass case with the tablet was locked.”

“Can’t we just break the
case?”

“If there are no guards,
yes. If there are, no.”

“So what should I do?”

“Practice!”

And with that I hand over
a hundred gold coins to Verde, a full half of what I have in inventory. This is
so she can purchase small safes and other devices with locks to practice her
skill on.

Verde gives me a sly grin
before quickly escaping the tavern with the bag of gold. I don’t understand why
I get a bad feeling about her running off... It’s still evening, so the stores
are still open. Perhaps she is just trying to buy what she needs before they
close for the night?

Leaning back on my seat
with a sigh, I start fleshing out the plan for stealing the tablet. I’m
determined to make every improvement to it I can.

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

- Verde -

After taking the money
from Lost, I quickly leave the tavern and enter the streets outside. This isn’t
because I am eager to practice my mechanical skills, which have not improved in
a long time, but because I don’t want any of the others to follow and watch me.

Why? Well, I plan on
approaching the training a little differently than how they might expect.

The hundred gold coins are
deposited into my inventory where they will remain. I turn around to look at
the inn, mouth a silent apology, then vanish into the crowd.

I reach an area closer to
the inner city where it isn’t busy commercially, but is more of a residential
district. There are lots of houses that players can buy to form a guild base or
open up a specialist store if they so desire. Most players only used them for
item storage or as a personal base, though.

In my inexperienced
opinion, the best method to practice breaking into a building is by first
burglarizing smaller buildings; a personal house, for example. The only caveat,
I soon find out, is that I can’t unlock any houses that haven’t been rented or
bought, as they are protected by the system. I also can’t enter if the owner is
currently inside, though I honestly wouldn’t want to do that anyway.

Searching around the
houses to find those that are off the market is quite time consuming. Only
about ten percent of the houses seem to have been rented or bought, so sniffing
them out takes time. I carefully look through windows for any goods or
furniture inside to ensure that they are not empty, and therefore protected by
the system. If they do have that protection, an attempt to break in (or in my
case, leaning too hard on the glass) results in curious guards arriving at my
side with a speed that may as well be instantaneous teleportation.

There are eleven
player-owned houses in my current area, and only two of them currently have a
player inside. Inspecting the nine remaining houses, I wait until night falls
and the number of players on the street decreases. Everything soon turns quiet;
the subtle movement of flickering torches illuminating the empty street is the
only motion I can now perceive.

Withdrawing my lockpick
kit from my inventory, I stealthily move toward the front of my first target
and inspect the lock. Of course, I make sure to use the special trait of my
Class Skill that will keep any unexpected players passing by from noticing me,
a subtle camouflage that blends my form against the house’s front door. The
skill isn’t all-encompassing, but skills that will allow a player to pierce my
camouflage are not that common.

I smoothly pick out
several standard grade lockpicks and place them in the lock. I haven’t done
this before, but I understand the mechanics. Depending on the type of lock, I
will need to insert a number of these metal lockpicks and position them
correctly for the lock to pop open.

The door on this house
only has the simplest of locks, so two of the lockpicks are all that are
needed. I rotate the first one slowly, listening for the distinctive click that
tells me it is in the right spot. I know if I take too long there is a chance
the tool will break.

The lock quietly clicks
once the lockpick is in the correct position, and I let out my held breath in a
sigh of relief. Following the same method, I wiggle the second lockpick in the
door until another click resounds.

The lock glows faintly, a
signal that it has been successfully unlocked. I quickly remove the lockpicks
and open the door, slipping inside the house like a shadow.

The lights inside of the
player’s house are quite dim. If I was the owner of the house I could adjust
the light settings to make it brighter and easier to see, but for my purposes
the dim light meant that I wouldn’t need to worry about someone seeing me
moving around from outside.

A piece of cheap artwork
adorns the wall and a bed is positioned below it. Players usually like to add
various embellishments to make their personal space more impressive, but this
player just seems pitiful. Most the player’s items are messily sprawled across
the floor of the house and they all appear to have little value.

I move to the foot of the
bed and examine the goods stored in the only chest in the room. I find a decent
pile of twenty gold coins, a few health potions, and some equipment that should
be worth another ten or so gold. Feeling a small amount of compassion for this
destitute player, I only take the gold coins and half of the health potions.

Next I check the wardrobe,
but am disappointed to find that the only item of value inside is a full set of
heavy iron armor. I can’t burden myself with such a ridiculously heavy set of
armor; I need to pace myself. The night is still young and there are eight more
houses to visit, so I leave a note on the bed reading Thank You before exiting
the house and closing the door behind me.

The next five houses are
roughly in the same situation, but have different amounts of valuables in them.
I only take the light items that are worth more than their weight before
leaving and moving on to the next mark.

I had a bit of trouble
with their locks, as two doors required three lockpicks to open, and one
required four. The more lockpicks that are needed, the more difficult the task
is. I lose three lockpicks in the process with the last one, but as a result I
make some considerable progress toward levelling my skill.

The seventh house seems to
be another easy target, only requiring two lockpicks.Growing rather confident,
I deftly move the lockpicks around and unlock the door, smirking as I push it
open. As soon as it opens a boisterous ringing, like the bell of a cathedral,
reverberates throughout the house and into the street.

“Damn it! Who the hell
puts an alarm trap on such a simple lock!” I curse loudly over the clatter at
both the idiocy of the owner and my mistake of not checking for traps.

Traps are usually placed
on houses where the valuables inside are worth a great deal; why would someone
purchase the most basic of houses to store such items? If I had to use five
lockpicks on a higher level residence, I would no doubt be wary for any traps,
but on such a basic house, it is a complete waste of money.

The player who owns this
house must not know anything about how houses are supposed to work.

I don’t have much time
before the city guards arrive to investigate the alarm, so I am left with a
decision between charging inside to grab as much as I can before attempting to
escape and hoping I get away, or leaving now while it is still safe.

Hesitating for a moment, I
sourly turn away from the house and flee into a dark alley. I need to help Lost
get into the museum tomorrow night, so I can’t risk being thrown in prison for
a week for theft.

Not long after, I hear the
sound of running boots in the direction I came from. No doubt the city guards. There
must have been a nearby patrol, as they arrived much faster than I thought they
would. Leaving the house immediately turned out to be the correct decision.

I get a safe distance away
from the alarm and do a quick count of all the items I stol- earned tonight. I
can probably get at least eighty gold coins for the lot, and there is another
hundred gold coins in hard currency. I decide to sell the loot first thing in
the morning.

Tonight’s earnings have
been much greater than I could have imagined; why didn’t I try this before? I
do feel a little bad for not telling Lost or the others, but a paltry sum of
gold like this isn’t that big of a deal, right?

BOOK: End Online: Volume 6
8.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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