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Chapter 47: Alexandria’s Crisis
The next two days after the event in Warjillis, the news of the arrival of an Elder God had spread like wildfire in the neuronet.
Every country in the world that had users playing RPG: Terroa had heard the news one way or another. All of them linked the arrival of this [Elder God] with Siva and his Grand Quest.
Siva had sparked a great change in the game and so there was majority of them agreeing to this.
Also, the name “Donar” became the number one searched name in Giggle, and the videos uploaded by the ones present at that day in Warjillis became the hottest discussion in every forum and game talkshows.
Famous players whose names were only known to the geeks of RPG: Terroa, were interviewed in these talkshows and one of them, Gats, the widely recognized strongest player of the game, was also invited in TDT.
Kathleen Brew, as one of the hosts, was looking at Gats with a very unique glint on her eyes.
In a street somewhere in Q-City, pedestrians could stop by in front of an appliance store to look at this particular episode that’ currently being aired around the world.
“So, Gats, what do you think about the event that had happened in Warjillis?”
“Well, I’ve been to Battle City once and just like every other cities in The North, it was a big city. When I heard about the descent of an Elder God named Donar, I was first sceptic but then I heard how he smashed 300 players on his own and then made thousands of players bet in a gamble to be one of his so called Acolyte… I could only say… if he’s a player then he did a great job on doing it but if he’s really a God, everything that had happened are all natural considering the powers and authority that he possess.”
Gats spoke in his usual leisure manner and he was laid back as Kathleen followed with another question.
Pretending to look at her papers, her eyes had a glint of anticipation as she asked, “I heard that there was someone else who was in the scene. A name that no one heard before, a black magician called Dilim. Do you know him?”
Shaking his head, Gats replied smiling, “No. I do not know him. However, I’ve seen how he fights and I could only say that he can be described as one of the strongest… perhaps one of the top 10,000 players of Terroa.”
This was a recorded interview on the studio and when the viewers all heard Gats say this, they all held many different reactions.
One should remember that Terroa had millions of players in it. To belong to the top 10,000 players was already a feat in itself.
Besides, this claim came from the recognized top-1 player of Terroa himself, Gats, and so everyone could treat his words as fact.
“Top 10,000…” Kathleen spoke with a stern expression. “Since we’re already on the topic, if you were to differentiate the Archmage Heller and the top 10,000 players, where should an Archmage such as him be placed?”
“I’ve fought Heller before but back then, he never had those magic spells he’d used in the arena as I saw it. Although I myself had changed a lot since then, I won’t dare claim that I am the strongest even until now. People only knew me on the tournaments and judged my skills based on what they saw. Heller is an Archmage and the spells and skills he had displayed for us to see can be said to be close to the top 4000.”
“That’s a higher rank than Dilim.” Exclaimed Brad Goldoni. “But Dilim was able to push him back in the clash on the video. Still, this ranking, does it have something to do with Heller’s title?”
“It might be one.” Said Gats. “Okay, let me just clear this out for all of you guys watching this. In Terroa, the title of Archmage belongs to both the NPCs and the players. You guys know it as well, we as the ones belonging to the real world are not allowed to speak of the NPCs as NPCs or even call them as such with full intent. The system will bar us and we will incur rejection and punishment from the system. But in all this, the title of [Archmage] belongs to everybody. We only knew of 5 or 6 names on the [player] side but we didn’t know who or how many NPCs are actually entitled to receive the title of Archmage from the Circle of Magi. That said, in my own investigations, I came to know of 17 NPCs given the title of Archmage and all of them are stronger than Heller by an entire league. I fought with one of them during one of my adventures and I was beaten badly and was forced to retreat.”
Kathleen and Brad had shocked expressions on their faces.
Gats continued, “That said, only to us players is the Circle of Magi an open secret society of the strongest magicians of Terroa. To the NPCs, they are still a secret society and only the few nobles and highly knowledgeable individuals are aware of their existence. The title of Archmage that they bestow on a Mage is one way of them recognizing that person’s abilities. Heller’s ability as a Wizard is undoubtedly clear and now that he had merged swordsmanship and magic, there is also a clear indication that he can rise into a new level of power in that threshold. When he clashed with Dilim, he had already used up most of his Mana and there is also a large possibility that the reason he retreated is because of some reason connected to the fact that this Dilim character belonged to an organization called The Company that no one had ever heard of.”
Brad nodded. “According to reports, Dilim is but a Branch Commander of The Company so that also brings us to a conclusion that whoever was behind this organization is undoubtedly one of the top 1000 or perhaps even top 100 of the gamers.”
“Or maybe he or she is an NPC.” Kathleen said.
“That as well.” Gats agreed. “Just like those organizations in Flowerion where some of them are established by ridiculously strong NPCs, it is also a possibility that can’t be denied. But still, this Dilim is really a strong player to be wary of. So, we should be prepared in the future in case he or the organization he belongs to, with their connection to Elder God Donar, uses this status to wage war against every one of us.”
It was a possible threat.
RPG: Terroa is a game that can convert Zentra into real world Credits. If one man can rule over the biggest organizations of the world and then decides to raise taxes for collection without any significant reason, then considering the scope of the territories on those organizations and the number of people on them, even if he only gets 10% of the entirety of the taxes gained, it was still a lot of money considering that the time in Terroa is three times faster than on Earth.
A month’s worth of taxes in the real world is then multiplied to three.
Such notion was frightening.
If The Company decides to proceed with this, then a war is indeed coming to them in the near future.
They don’t have any idea of where [The Company] originated from but they are all sure that if the Branch Commander was already this formidable, then perhaps everyone else who stood above his rank were strong as well.
Excluding the strength to fight enemies, even if it’s just management prowess, to control the existence and operations of the organization with this much precision, level of secrecy, and might… then that leader was is indeed a very formidable figure.
The only question left is who…
Who is the leader of The Company?
Gats’ words incited this very question to all the people watching the program. And then, while everyone of the viewers were pondering over this fact, Kathleen Brew suddenly asked.
“By the way, Gats, what is your organization going to do about it?”
Gats… the strongest player in Terroa, known to be a solo player and is a mercenary himself that doesn’t belong to any kind of organization, looked at Kathleen Brew with narrowed eyes. His carefree smile vanished to become a meaningful smile as he went silent for a moment before he closed his eyes and made a helpless sigh.
Kathleen Brew caught him off guard.
But he was still Gats, the conqueror. He can’t be the strongest player without having the ability to adapt to a situation within a split of a second.
“Well, I don’t know where you got that news but I am just a humble player who wants to roam the world free and unrestricted. If I am going to belong to one organization, then I will have to build my own… considering my prestige and my status.”
Kathleen smiled widely as if she had expected this and this made Brad trickle some sweat while it made Gats looked at her as if he was a target.
“Is that so?”
“Yes. It is so.”
The two looked at each other for just a moment but it was already like an entire year of attrition war to Brad Goldini. And like a saviour, the poor guy heard something on his communicator.
Brad spoke in high spirits afterwards. “Well then folks, it seems we have no more time left for this program. Let’s continue the interview at a later time when sir Gats are not busy. See you guys around and don’t forget to subscribe on our page to get the latest news and updates on Terroa. I am Brad Goldini.”
“And this is Kathleen Brew.”
““This is Terroa Day Today.””
“Where adventures first gets noted…”
“…and secret organizations are announced.”
Kathleen’s last words almost drew all the blood on Brad’s face as Gats, on the side, just laughed the open provocation off as the program ended and the planned commercials played.
No one knew what happened on the studio after that awkward moment in the end but they all knew that Kathleen’s actions incited something that made Gats become wary of her.
In the end, it was still natural for Kathleen.
After all, throughout the countries, Kathleen had a long standing reputation…
She was a cat that can go anywhere. Her ability to sniff off news is what landed her an anchor-reporter job at the early age of 18… and not the fact that she was the daughter of the news company’s owner.
––3rd day after the Warjillis Event––
The garden flowers remained as beautiful as they are and all the more they became vibrantly beautiful with the existence of a celestial beauty that basked on their prettiness as she sat there entranced in reading a book under that solitary tree.
Birds flew from the buildings around the garden and to the branches of the tree then played as they chirped.
Petals flew passed her surroundings, the wind carries off many different colored curls.
The sol shined passed through the leaves of the trunks, the smell of sunrise fresh on this early morning breeze.
It was 7am and coincidentally, it was also around that time in the real world.
Scion flipped through the page, a sigh leaving her slightly reddish pink lips. She bit on the lower and then closed the book, drawing it in the middle of her chest as she closed her eyes to savour the feeling of reading a good story.
It was a few moments then that she was alerted by the sounds of footsteps; of clanging metals hitting each other as they carefully, lightly, went on to not crush the flowers that bloomed on the grassy floor.
Such was the size in the inner garden of Apus Epirus and its presumed owner greeted her with a gentle smile that could capture even an angel.
With a light scowl, she scoffed, “What do you want now? I’ve already talked to your leader and had assented to helping you out on whatever you wanna do with the MOD in my possession. If you are here to talk to me about it, I wouldn’t answer any of your questions so please leave me be.”
As she spoke, Scion stored the book back to her inventory as she then pulled back another one and flipped its page to read.
Kladis just stood there and didn’t say anything and the seconds that passed since he came was spent in deep silence.
Scion was irritated and annoyed with the silence and she stole a glance at his direction only to find him close-eyed savouring the aroma in the wind.
Unable to hold her annoyance, Scion closed the book with a clear loud sound and this made Kladis open his eyes and look at her.
“Is there a problem?” He asked.
“You.” She said, glaring. “You are the problem. I am relaxing here, can’t you see? Why are you trying to bug me every time I want to enjoy my reading?”
Kladis looked at the book in her hand and then to her face. Kladis made a chuckle and a smile broke on his lips –the kind of smile that had a charm associated with it.
Raising his hands to his sides, he apologized, “I didn’t mean it. It’s just that, it is also my hobby to spend some time under that tree and savour the breeze of a morning. I’m still at the stage where I am slowly adjusting on the fact that I’ve given you my precious spot of relaxation.”
Scion raised a brow and she pouted. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe him, it’s just that the way he said so seemed like she stole it from him.
Wasn’t the deal she agreed upon stated that she would have this sense of privacy?
So why is it that Kladis isn’t leaving her alone?
“It’s been a week and you’re really bugging me.”
“My apologies.” Kladis had a look of sincerity in him when he said it dejectedly. “May I share this moment with you for the last time then? After this, I will try to find a place for myself to relax to and won’t go near you.”
Kladis had an air of gloom with him as he spoke and it was a striking contrast to his cheerful and carefree attitude that had been her first lasting impression of him.
Although she didn’t like it, does she have a choice in this matter?
Not only he was the owner of the castle, he was also the one who had helped her attain this kind of freedom by convincing that frightening leader of theirs, Gats.
He was frightening, Scion was sure, to the sense that his seemingly smiling demeanor and ability to open up conversations were signs that for an unsuspecting person, this ability might get his victim to spill some unnecessary beans.
Scion was able to notice it and she became wary of Gats from the first time they spoke.
At that time, the conditions they spoke about were too strict even for Scion’s standards and it’s only because of Kladis that Gats agreed to all her additional demands.
Because of that, Scion felt that she owed Kladis this opportunity.
“Just this once.” She declared with strictness.
“My sincerest thanks.”
Kladis lightly laughed, sounding really thankful but also seemingly forced. Scion’s wariness of this guy and his habits became notified of this attitude. Not saying anything anymore, he walked towards the side of the tree and then changed his equipment.
From an armored knight, his current attire became that of a noble from the novels she had read.
An elegant yellowish white shirt and a sleek khaki brown slacks… it was both a sight and a tease for modern casual home attires by kids who grew up from a well-off family.
Scion didn’t grow up from a very rich family but her background can be considered to have come from a decent household.
Of course, with her exposure to the wider side of society because of her outgoing bestfriend, Alice (FlowerLord), she was at least knowledgeable to how rich kids dressed and conducted themselves. (A/N: rich kids = it’s a term used generally to describe not rich people but those who have a decent lifestyle that bordered to being well-off to normal commoner’s lifestyles. Something in between those lines)
Seeing this, Scion couldn’t help but appreciate how dashing he looked like.
He was dressed as if he was just at home and this was something that was new even to Scion since Kladis’s blonde hair and tall stature was an eye-candy to all women in the world.
Although she had strong defenses against these kinds of things, he still had an impression planted on her subconsciousness.
Just when was the last time had she seen such an elegant young man in his home clothes?
Not even noticing it, Scion was already looking at Kladis with a slight blush on her cheeks. Kladis noticed her stare and he turned his head to her, meeting her eyes, and then making a slightly surprised expression before smiling beautifully.
This smile deepened her blush and she felt irritated when she noticed it.
She stomped the book hard on her lap and then uttered a “Hmp.” Before opening the book to the page and started reading.
Kladis chuckled and then smiled as he looked up the tree and jumped to the thick branch in it.
This action caught Scion’s attention and she raised her head to see Kladis leaning his back on the main bough, hands behind his head, and then closing his eyes as if he didn’t care in the world.
He didn’t say anything. He didn’t try to get her attention. Kladis only silently relaxed himself on that position and didn’t care for anything else.
Scion also didn’t mind him any further as she just enjoyed the silence and continued to read and be engrossed in the story in the book.
After quite a long time, she heard birds chirping above her.
Seemingly attracted to the live activity, she raised her head to see many birds playing around to a sleeping Kladis.
The birds were playing, chirping playfully as they chased each other. Kladis was unmoving and he seemed to not mind them as he only silently spent this time to savour the early morning sol.
It was a perfect morning indeed. The breeze was light, the sol was cool, the flowers bloomed with aroma and the birds provided a cheerful and very relaxing serenade…
Kladis’s figure on that branch, relaxedly sleeping and seemingly trying to release the stress of the tight preparations she became aware of, was a sight in itself as she felt staring at him.
He was an irritating person, that’s something she was willing to go to the court to defend to. Not only that, he was also an obnoxious jerk with overflowing confidence radiating on his very bones.
It was this confidence that she hated the most.
He treated her unlike any other guy before. She was used to being treated like a princess and not one soul had ever ignored her claims. And yet, this guy not only made fun of her, he also treated her like any other girl in the streets… someone he can ignored at his will!
She wasn’t used to it although she never minded it before. It was only him and him alone that made her conscious of the fact that she hated being taken for granted.
Remembering it all made her irritated but then, she also recalled how he looked gloomy earlier.
Was there something bugging him?
He wasn’t the same jerk earlier and he was even so gentle and so different that she felt like this guy wasn’t the same Kladis that annoyed her.
“Did something happen?” She couldn’t help but ask this to herself. “Is the plan to take away the other half of The Providence really that challenging that it was enough to stress out even this carefree and aggravating jerk?”
Seemingly noticing her gaze, Kladis opened his eyes and then suddenly turned towards her.
Their gazes met and she was taken aback.
“So that’s why I can’t take a good sleep. You’ve been staring at me for quite some time now.”
“Wha–?!! Who’s staring at you?! I wasn’t… I was just…” Startled and surprised, Scion tried to find the words for an excuse but all the ideas that popped out her head became words that tried to come out ahead of each other that she stuttered, creating a scene that made her blush.
Kladis bid a loud laugh and Scion’s face flushed a deeper red this time.
“You don’t have to hide it. I saw it myself.”
“I wasn’t!” she angrily yelled and threw the book in her hand at him.
Kladis wasn’t able to dodge it but he used his left arm to block the book. When it was repelled, the force of this surprise attack knocked off his balance and he fell to the ground with a bang.
“Aw-aw-aw-aw-aw… that really hurt.”
There was no pretense on his words. Even to her location, the height and angle of his fall looked really painful, paired with the blunt sound that disturbed even the birds playing around.
“OMG! I’m so sorry.” She ran towards him and helped him up. “I’m really sorry.”
Scion was really worried. The red on her face was gone and was replaced by sincere apology.
Kladis took her hand and was pulled up but when it seems that her force wasn’t enough, he secretly applied a slight thug to pull her, knocking her off-guard that yanked off her feet.
Kladis caught her and offered his chest to hedge her fall.
“Owww!” Kladis groaned as he fell back and his pained expression alerted Scion who was on his chest.
She raised her head, forgetting it was all a game, and then sat up to check on him.
“Are you okay?”
The level of their eyes met and Kladis looked at her gaze with seriousness.
And then, whether it was accidental or intended, his lips opened and spoke the words that made her blush.
Scion’s cheeks burned red and two seconds passed by as she looked at his eyes.
Three seconds, they were still staring at each other and her mind went blank as she was caught by the moment.
But before the fifth second even entered, Kladis had a pained expression as he ushered, “Can you please get off now. You’re kind of heavy.”
Scion was startled.
Her mind worked as she stood up and hid her blushing cheeks in a pretentious spit of anger.
“You are such a jerk!”
Kladis stood up and then ignored her, changing into his knight attire as he went to the east wall.
“Sorry to have disturbed you.” He said. “I will be coming back to work now.”
Scion shouted. “Don’t come back here!” and then sat down under the tree and pretended to read.
Kladis disappeared on the building without saying anything else. But in there, he met Gats wearing a big smile as he chuckled.
“We have waited enough. Begin the operations.”
When Kladis went away, Gats glanced at Scion and narrowed his eyes as if angry. “You really surprised me with your connections, woman, I never thought you’d be acquainted with that nosy cat even in real life.”
The spark of anger was in his gaze but he was an expert that can hide his intentions and this ill-intended gaze could only be felt by no one else except him.
Scion secretly glanced where Kladis disappeared to and when she was sure that he was gone, she hid her face in the middle of her book and shouted all of her frustration.
Scion trapped in their fangs…
When will Siva come and rescue her?
Next chapter: An old nemesis takes center stage.
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