Izroth and his party stepped into the hole and were immediately pulled in by a powerful force. Before they knew it, Izroth and his party had arrived in a spacious room where everything was sculpted out of ice. A thin layer of snow covered the floor beneath them.
"I don't think I'll ever get used to that feeling." Halls said as he released a sigh.
"It seems as if this place enjoys pulling us along everywhere we go." Valentine said as he admired the sculptures of ice. The most impressive sculpture was of a faceless woman who gave off a natural air of authority and divinity. It was as if she were a cold ice empress of a vast empire.
As everyone else took in the sight of the ice sculptures, Izroth was focused on the Isolation Compass within his hand. At the moment, it pointed directly towards the sculpture that stood proudly in the middle of the room. It was the ice sculpture of the faceless woman.
Kneeling before the woman was the ice sculpture of an extremely youthful and handsome man. Both of the ice sculptures were incredibly detailed and lifelike. One could tell from the demeanor of the man that he held a great deal of respect for the woman. But, there was a certain self-loathing mixed into the man's facial expression.
"What beautiful ice sculptures." Zi Yi could not help but sigh in amazement when she caught sight of the ice sculptures of the faceless woman and handsome man. There was one special trait that both ice sculptures shared that was currently a rare occurrence within RML.
'They are both members of the Trephasia race.'
Both the faceless woman and handsome man possessed the unique long ear feature that belonged solely to the Trephasia race. So far, Izroth had only seen a single member of the Trephasia race within RML and that was the NPC he had met inside of Amaharpe's Auction House.
"What is this place?" Halls asked as his eyes scanned the spacious room.
"It looks like some sort of art museum. However, given our current location, I find that theory to be implausible." Zi Yi responded.
"The ice sculptures are so lifelike. It almost seems as if they were frozen where they stood." Luna said.
The others agreed with that statement. In fact, if not for the woman being faceless, they would have believed that to be the case.
"Where do we go from here?" Valentine asked.
"A good question that I have not yet found the answer to." Izroth replied as he approached the ice sculpture of the faceless woman. When he was around ten meters away from his destination, the Isolation Compass vanished from his hand.
However, the Isolation Compass did not wander off too far. Hovering before the faceless woman was the Isolation Compass that Izroth held onto just moments ago. It was as if it were answering to a call by the ice sculpture.
Before anyone could react to the fact that the Isolation Compass had been taken from them, three Fal'Jika suddenly emerged from the thin layer of snow beneath Zi Yi's feet. Two of them grabbed tightly onto her legs as the other had a sharp dagger in its hand coated with the Fal'Jika poison.
Zi Yi was startled as her primary instinct told her to evade the attack, however, she was unable to move thanks to the two Fal'Jika.
"Wish death!" The Fal'Jika with the sharp dagger in its hand shouted. But, just as its dagger was about to reach Zi Yi, an incredible surge of power manifested before the group Fal'Jika and sent them flying backward.
The two Fal'Jika that was halfway in the ground were forced above ground and soared across the room along with the third Fal'Jika as they slammed into the wall made of solid ice. The force was so great that it left an imprint of their bodies within the ice as they struggled to move.
"Vile, impure and corrupt creatures of the Undying Maelstrom! You dare taint the presence of the empress with your cursed existence?!" A voice reverberated like a clap of thunder throughout the spacious room.
"Danger! Ice people strong! Strong! Cannot wish death!" One of the Fal'Jika said as their efforts to escape were futile.
While everyone was stunned by the appearance of the Fal'Jika that attacked Zi Yi, they were even more surprised to hear an unknown voice. It was not the same voice that belonged to the entity that gave them the Isolation Compass. This voice was filled with an immeasurable amount of hatred and anger.
Before Izroth and his party knew it, the handsome that was once an ice sculpture, now stood before them was tall and thin with fair skin, long silver hair, and piercing sapphire colored eyes. He wore pure white clothes on top of silver leather with well-defined sapphire colored markings embedded into it.
"What a frightening level of magic he's releasing..." Valentine muttered to himself. Although it was not seemingly a bottomless pit like Zendai Proximus', it felt more natural and wild in nature.
"Begone!" As the voice of the Trephasia male echoed throughout the spacious room, it carried with it an overbearing force that crashed into the three Fal'Jika and caused them to dissipate into nothingness.
Just with his voice alone, he was able to eliminate three Fal'Jika without lifting a single finger in the process!
Valentine was knocked into a dazed state as the overbearing force passed by him. He stood there motionless with his eyes widened.
"Cursed Maelstrom! The little creatures are weak but eternal within the Maelstrom." The Trephasia male said as he then swept his gaze across Izroth and his party.
"State your purpose here! You disturb the rest of the empress with your presence!" The Trephasia male said without restraint. However, as Izroth and his group did not appear to be related to the Undying Maelstrom, it did not immediately take action against them.
"What did you do to our magic freak?!" Zi Yi said as she pointed towards Valentine who stood motionless. No matter what she did to try and snap him out of it, he remained unresponsive.
"Hm?" The Trephasia male glance over in Valentine's direction and noticed the eyes he possessed. "Hah, a child playing with the Eyes of Magic. Your friend will return to normal soon enough. He is still processing the vast number of magic sequences caused by my magic."
Everyone was relieved by the fact that the person before them seemed to hold no ill intentions. At the moment, the system still refused to show any information on not just the items in this place, but also the monsters and NPCs.
Therefore, they could not determine how weak or strong things were. But, it was safe to say that the individual before them now was by no means weak.
"Now state your purpose or, I Zelfyrion, will be forced to be impolite and ask you to leave this place at once." The Trephasia male who referred to himself as Zelfyrion said.
Izroth could sense a strong level of self-control and concentration coming from Zelfyrion. It was as if he was afraid of completely losing himself to an unknown force and tried his best to suppress his emotions after seeing the Fal'Jika.
But one thing was for certain, if he wanted to fight against them then he would have already made a move when he attacked the Fal'Jika.
"We were guided to this place by the Isolation Compass that hovers before your empress. We would like to know our purpose here just as much as you." Izroth said in a carefree manner.
"The Isolation Compass...?" Zelfyrion turned to face the ice sculpture of the faceless woman and saw the Isolation Compass. A look of disbelief appeared on his face. "Impossible! This item was swept into the Undying Maelstrom during that time! But, it is definitely not a fake or a copy..."
Zelfyrion furrowed his brows as he said, "Where did you get this item? How do you know of its name that should have long been lost?"
"It was given to us by the entity that resides within this tower. In its words, the Isolation Compass would guide us where we need to go." Izroth responded.
"Entity? Tower?" Zelfyrion frowned as he listened to Izroth's words.
He then let out a deep sigh as he said, "Young man, I do not think you fully understand the importance of the Isolation Compass."
"Oh?" Izroth was interested to hear what Zelfyrion had to say since the voice did not give them any background details on the item, just a vague description of it.
"The Isolation Compass is not just a mere item. It was crafted by a being of limitless power just before their ascension to the plane that lies beyond the firmament. It was given to the ancestors of the empress and passed down for generations. However, when the Undying Maelstrom arrived everything was thought to be lost forever, including the Isolation Compass." Zelfyrion explained.
"What is this Undying Maelstrom?" Zi Yi asked. She had heard the term so much since their arrival on the second floor, but it always seemed as if it were more than just the name of the current region they were located in.
That expression of self-loathing once again found its way onto Zelfyrion's face.
"Normally, it is not a story I would speak of. However, you have returned to the Isolation Compass to the empress and for this, you have my gratitude." Zelfyrion said in a sincere manner.
He then explained, "Countless centuries ago, the vast empire of my empress spanned further than the eye could see. It was a time of peace when there was a perfect balance of power within the world. The peace would seem everlasting, until the appearance of the Undying Maelstrom."
"During that day, everything retreated before the path of the Undying Maelstrom that stretched across the world or met with inevitable destruction. When all seemed hopeless, my empress made a choice." As Zelfyrion spoke, a painful expression appeared on his face.
"In order to protect the people of the empire and the entire world, the empress sacrificed herself to quell the Undying Maelstrom. However, it was not before it robbed the empress of everything, even her very existence to her people." Zelfyrion said as he stared at the faceless woman.
"It is only I who remember. It is only I who holds onto a strand of the empress and confirms her existence in this world. Only I..." Zelfyrion spoke in an increasingly saddened tone of voice.
"You- Are you crying...?" Zi Yi said as she looked over at Guan Yu who was tearing up.
"No, I just have something in my eyes! What a true man!" Guan Yu said as he wiped his eyes. He admired Zelfyrion who seemed to give up everything in order to hold on to a small part of the person he was loyal to. But even more so to the woman he obviously had a deep amount of affection for.
'A fallen empire...'
Izroth was reminded of some events that occurred during his time within the Seven Realms. Unless one had absolute power that exceeded everything, they would always be at the mercy of the hands of fate.
"However, such events have long since passed. Since you have made the journey here, it can only be with meaning." Zelfyrion waved his hand as a beautiful brooch appeared before Izroth along with the Isolation Compass.
"That brooch once belonged to the empress. Only those with the royal bloodline of the Trephasia can unlock the mysteries it contains within. It does not have to be today, nor tomorrow, but one day I ask of you to find she who possesses the same royal bloodline of the empress. The Isolation Compass shall guide you." Zelfyrion said.
Quest Name: Royal Bloodline
Recommended Level: None
Recommended Party Size: None
Quest Rank: D
Quest Objective: Locate the member of the Trephasia race who possesses the same royal bloodline as the empress of the lost empire and deliver to them the «Empress Brooch».
Time Limit: None
0/1 Deliver «Empress Brooch» to the member of the Trephasia race who possesses the royal bloodline.
Izroth saw no reason to reject Zelfyrion. After all, the quest did not have a time limit to it. Although it was only a D-ranked quest, the reward was hidden which usually indicated something potentially good.
Everyone else within the party also received the same quest as Izroth.
"I accept." Izroth said. A part of the reason for him accepting the quest was also due to wanting to discover more about the Trephasia race who seemed so scarce within RML.
"Excellent! You have no gratitude." Zelfyrion reached out his hand as a stream of magic shot out towards Valentine and snapped him out of his trance-like state.
"I shall send you closer to where the Isolation Compass currently guides you." Zelfyrion said. However, after he pondered for a bit, he seemed to have a certain look of clarity in his eyes.
"It is a shame that only one of you are compatible. But, think of this as a parting gift and a show of my sincerity." Zelfyrion said as a small drop of pure green liquid slowly floated towards Luna and sunk into her forehead.
After that drop of green liquid entered into Luna's forehead, Zelfyrion appeared to immediately become exhausted.
"May you find what you seek." Zelfyrion said before clapping his hands together which caused Izroth and his party to disappear.
He then stared up at the ice sculpture of the faceless woman one last time before resuming his kneeling posture and turning back into an ice sculpture. Except for this time, there was an expression of hope on his face.