"Leader." Niflheim called as he walked over to Asgard's side during the peaceful period in between waves. They had just cleared the second wave and was awaiting the third. The second wave was more of a challenge when compared to the first wave, however, the difficulty level was still not that high.
"Hm? Niflheim? It's unlike you to leave the area you're stationed in. You didn't have to come all the way over here personally... Why did you not just relay a message?" Asgard asked. Since they could not send messages while participating in this event, they relied on scouts and messengers to relay orders or deliver important messages.
For Niflheim to come here personally before the start of the next wave
Niflheim shook his head, "I've known you long enough, leader. If I had given someone else the message to deliver, you'd think of it as me just being overly cautious. The fact that I came here personally reveals how serious this may be."
Asgard blinked a few times before he examined Niflheim's expression. He then let out a deep sigh, "If you feel so strongly about it then I obviously won't turn you away, Niflheim. What is it that causes you to personally pay me a visit in the middle of an important event?" Asgard now had a serious expression on his face.
Even if Niflheim was one of the seven captains of Blue Oasis, he still had to follow orders. This was even more so for captains so that they did not lead by bad example. Blue Oasis was a top guild with a large number of members. If there were no rules set in place, then there would only be chaos and confusion.
When Niflheim saw that Asgard had his full attention he said, "Sir, the movement in our sector, as well as, the guild Juxtapose Hypocrisy has been inconsistent with the movements of the other top guilds." Niflheim stated.
Juxtapose Hypocrisy was one of the top ten guilds within RML. They were currently ranked at the very bottom of the list. However, do not let their rank fool you. Juxtapose Hypocrisy was still one of the top ten guilds and had a major source of influence. Their overall power was nothing to scoff at.
"I doubt that would cause you, one of my handpicked captains to ignore orders and leave his area. There must be something else." Asgard said.
Niflheim nodded, "You're correct, there is something else. I've noticed that Cross Haven has taken some extra precautions. No doubt it's Wang Qiang's doing. It's possible that he has the same eerie feeling as me about what's taking place."
Asgard furrowed his brows when Niflheim mentioned the name Wang Qiang. Wang Qiang was well known as one of the Five Great Generals of Cross Haven. When it came to foresight and strategy, Wang Qiang had few that could rival him. "What's taking place?" Asgard asked, not understanding what Niflheim was implying.
"I'm sure you've realized it as well, leader. The players settled within our sector are above average... Too above average for it to be a mere coincidence." Niflheim expression darkened as he spoke.
"Captain Niflheim, what exactly are you trying to imply? Be blunt!" Asgard's facial expression also darkened with a hint of rage present. Indeed, he did notice the level of solo players and random parties were well above the average skill level of the casual players. However, he originally just associated this with bad luck. But now, it seemed that he may have been naive in his way of thinking.
"Someone is making a move, leader. I am unsure of who, but all the major parties of the top guilds seem to be present and no key player is missing. There is no shame in not having discovered this, as it was obviously carefully planned by someone quite meticulous." Niflheim explained.
Asgard frowned, "That doesn't make any sense. If it isn't any of the top guilds, then who could possibly amass enough above average players to settle within two of the top ten guilds sectors?"
Niflheim opened his mouth as if he was about to say something, however, he refrained from doing so. He had doubts and possessed no proof for such a wild theory. If he was wrong, then he could very well start a guild war with an up and coming guild.
As a guild was who ranked within the top ten, they would be seen as oppressive bullies and their image would suffer because of it. If that happened just because he had a hunch, then Niflheim would not forgive himself for putting Asgard in that position after all he had done for him.
Asgard placed a hand onto Niflheim's shoulder. "Since the day we've met, I knew that you would one day become a captain of my Blue Oasis. I chose you because you see things that others simply cannot. Your instincts have yet to lead us astray even once. So this time as well, do not hesitate to say what's on your mind, Niflheim."
Niflheim possessed a great deal of respect for Asgard. This was why he did everything in his power to keep the well-being of the guild in mind before anything else. If he was right, then he would be doing just that. There was no need to hesitate!
Niflheim then went on to explain his findings thus far and what he believed to be taking place right under their very own nose.
When Asgard finished listening to Niflheim's explanation, the third wave was getting ready to begin in approximately one minute. Asgard had a peaceful expression on his face. However, those who knew him understood that he was actually furious on the inside.
"Good... Very good. Captain Niflheim, return to your area and make the proper arrangements. Unfortunately, I have not yet had the chance of personally meeting with the leader of Cross Haven within RML, otherwise, they may be a little easier to approach about this matter." After thinking for a bit, Asgard decided what to do.
"I'll need you to send someone to discreetly deliver a message for me. Those who have such malicious thoughts towards my Blue Oasis... Hmph, let's just see who dares to try so again after today." Asgard said.
"Sir!" Niflheim brought his right fist up to his chest and gave a respectful salute. He then took his leave back towards his designated area.
On his way back, he suddenly thought about that interesting player he had met back in Opal Town. "He's been pretty quiet lately. I wonder what that fellow is up to..."
As the stone doors opened, Izroth and his party entered into a room with an abundance of empty space. Just like the scene above ground, this place was also in ruins with piles of rubble scattered all over the floor.
"Is this really the place that black hole was trying to return to?" Halls asked as doubt filled his voice. There was nothing within the room but rubble and dust that covered a small fraction of the room.
Strangely enough, there was lighting inside that did not come from any visible light source. It was as if someone grabbed ahold of light itself and placed it there.
"This is definitely the correct location. The same type of magic that the black hole was emitting matches that of whatever lies buried within this place." Valentine answered.
"I've been wondering for a while now but... You say all this stuff about sensing magic energy and seeing sequences... How can you see those things when we can't?" Guan Yu inquired.
"Ah, it's a skill I possess called Eyes of Magic. It allows me to see magic energy and sequences in a way that makes it easier for me to understand and process the source of information. Think of it as looking through a microscope. It's not that the microscopic specimens aren't there, but rather our eyes just aren't naturally made to observe them. But, the Eyes of Magic are made for such a tedious task." Valentine explained.
"What a useful skill..." Guan Yu muttered to himself.
Izroth set his gaze upon the other side of the room. There were a total of six simple looking wooden doors. Nothing, in particular, seemed to stand out amongst the doors. There were no symbols written on the wooden doors or any distinct differences present between them.
"This place doesn't belong here..." Izroth said without realizing that he spoke out loud. It was rare that such a thing happened to him without control.
"Hm?" Although it was not that loud, Zi Yi still managed to pick up on it. Since her hearing was already well above the others, the Five Cycles Pill increased it to a level that remained above the others. "Did you say something?" Zi Yi asked when she heard Izroth utter a few words.
Izroth turned and revealed his normal carefree expression. "Just simple curiosity." Izroth had not told a lie when he said those words, he was indeed curious about this place.
"There does not seem to be anything worth noting here. We should continue." Izroth said as he started to make his way towards the six wooden doors. Everyone followed after Izroth and remained vigilant of their surroundings as they soon came before the wooden doors.
"Which door should we take?" Halls asked curiously. He did not see any difference between them. How were they supposed to know if they chose the correct door or not?
"Valentine?" Zi Yi glanced over in his direction, however, he could only helplessly shake his head in response to her request.
"My Eyes of Magic cannot see anything located on the other side of a specific door. If I were to make a wild guess, I would honestly say that they all lead to the same location." Valentine responded.
"They all lead to the same place? Then what's the point of having so many doors?" Halls asked in a baffled manner.
"Who knows, brother? Maybe one door for each mistress." Guan Yu said in a serious voice.
"I see, good thinking. That is the only logical explanation for this." Halls said as he replied in a similarly serious tone of voice.
Zi Yi's scoffed and looked down on Halls, as well as, Guan Yu. Those two always had their head in the clouds! "Wolves!" Zi Yi scowled.
Luna stepped forward and moved next to Izroth. She noticed that he seemed to be troubled by something ever since they discovered this temple. "Is everything alright?" She asked in a way that did not sound too invading.
Izroth gave a slight smile in response to Luna's inquiry. "Have I done something to make you think otherwise?" Izroth asked.
Luna shook her head, "That's not it. Forgive me if this sounds too personal, but ever since we've arrived inside of this temple your thoughts seem to be at another place. Of course, if it is a personal matter, then I hope that you'll excuse my rudeness." Izroth saw a hint of worry flash across Luna's eyes.
"There is no need to think too much into it. I just felt that this place was familiar is all. Nothing too personal." Izroth stated.
"I see. Then I've misunderstood." Luna felt as if there was something more to it, however, she would not continue to pursue it.
'Such a sharp level of awareness.'
Izroth was impressed at Luna's awareness. Even though he only revealed a few signs, she was still able to perceive them and confronted him about it. Izroth thought at that moment that she would have probably a good cultivator within the Seven Realms.
After thinking over it for a while but being unable to come up with any clues, the group chose to enter the second door on the left. There was no specific reason for doing so, just that they needed to choose one. After all, if Valentine was correct then it truly did not matter which door they chose.
"Then, I'll go in first." Halls raised his shield and walked towards the second door. He made sure to proceed with caution. He was well aware of the consequences of dying in this place.
He slowly opened the wooden door and entered inside. When he saw that nothing was wrong, he turned around and waved everyone over. "It's safe to ent-"
The wooden door suddenly slammed shut and nothing could be heard coming from the other side.
Everyone was shocked by the sudden turn of events. Guan Yu dashed towards the wooden door that Halls entered into and tried to open it, however, it wouldn't budge! He tried attacking the wooden door with his guandao, but it remained undamaged.
The group was silent. Had they truly lost Halls so easily without getting a chance to even fight back?