Mirage was with two other players at her table. One of them was someone Izroth personally recognized, however, that person did not have their original appearance.
Instead, that person took on the appearance of a woman in her early to mid-twenties, however, her facial features were well hidden. But, even with her facial features hidden, Izroth immediately recognized that woman was none other than Ying Yue. She was using the same item to change her appearance which was a trinket she obtained called Alter.
The other player was a male magic caster. From his bizarre robes alone he seemed to be an off-branch of the shaman starter class. There were small totems no larger than a fist that was attached to a bundle of chains at his side. This was the main sign of one who had chosen the shaman class.
As Izroth approached the table, Mirage, Ying Yue, and the male shaman all turned their attention towards his direction. The lobby of the inn was small, making it difficult for others not to notice anyone approaching them. Also, it was not as if Izroth was trying to intentionally hide his presence.
Mirage had a dumbfounded look on her face as she saw Izroth and thought that her mind was playing tricks on her. As for Ying Yue, she was shocked for a brief moment, however, she quickly regained her calm demeanor.
"You- Didn't you say that you were near the capital city? How did you get here so fast?" Mirage said in a slightly confused tone of voice.
Her shock was understandable seeing as it took them around 3-4 hours just to arrive at this place from the capital city. However, it had not even been two hours since she messaged him the coordinates!
"I flew for a bit." Izroth answered as he swept his gaze across the three at the table. His gaze stopped at Ying Yue who currently had her eyes closed as if she were trying to avoid direct eye contact.
Although he did not know why Ying Yue was behaving in such a strange manner, if she wanted to pretend as if they had not met before today then he had no problem doing so as well.
Mirage shook her head and responded, "Alright, I can see that you don't want to tell me. Anyway, you've come at a good time. The people from the Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan should be here soon."
Izroth gave a small carefree smile. He really did fly over a few obstacles that would have otherwise taken up more of his time to reach this destination using the Skystep Boots. Of course, a player with the ability to fly was something others would not believe until they saw it with their own eyes.
After settling down and taking a seat at the table Izroth said, "Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan? I've never heard of them."
"That's only natural seeing as how they are based within the Proximus kingdom borders. It would be odd if you did know of them." The male shaman stated.
"Oh? I see. I don't believe we've met." Izroth said as he turned his attention towards the male shaman.
"Ah, right! How rude of me. Everyone, this is Izroth, the player I was telling you about earlier. Izroth, this is Ying Yue and Midnight. I met them while exploring Amaharpe and we just so happened to get along well during our last run-ins." Mirage said as she introduced everyone to one another.
'It seems that she gets around.'
Izroth knew from their last journey together that Mirage was a restless individual when it came to exploration. She was easy to get along with and quite the skilled fighter. Therefore, anyone would be more than happy to have her along in their party.
"Now that the introductions are out the way..." Mirage opened her system interface and a few moments later, Izroth received an alert from the system.
〈System Alert: Player Mirage is attempting to share the quest «Guardians of the Caravan» with you. Do you wish to accept?〉
Izroth accepted the quest without hesitation as his quest logs opened up for him to view the information about the quest.
Quest Name: Guardians of the Caravan
Recommended Level: 40
Recommended Party Size: 5
Quest Rank: A
Quest Objective: The Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan is heading back into Proximus territory. However, there is currently a level of high tension and unease within Proximus and the borders have become infested with thieves, bandits, and wanted factions. You are to successfully escort the members of the Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan back to their destination inside of the Proximus kingdom. This quest will be considered as having failed if the leader of the caravan dies, a total of ten of its members are killed, or five wagons are destroyed/stolen. The more members and wagons that survive, the greater the rewards for the quest.
Time Limit: 5 hours(Timer does not start until you enter into Proximus territory.)
Current Death Count: 0
Destroyed/Stolen Wagons: 0
0/1 Escort the members of the Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan safely to their destination.
-x1 Rare item treasure chest
-12 to 24 gold coins
-281,525 to 563,050 EXP
Special Note: This quest may be shared with up to 5 other players.
'It looks like there's some extra incentive for keeping everyone within the caravan alive.'
Izroth quickly looked over the quest information. He noticed that while the rewards could not compare to that of an SSS-ranked or even an S-ranked quest, the benefits were well worth the trip. After all, even though more players had access to rare items as the days passed within RML, they were still quite rare, especially those at a higher level.
Not to mention the fact that there was an unknown reward listed at the bottom which was usually a good sign. However, seeing a quest that did not have extreme consequences for failure, such as the destruction of a capital city or a loss of levels, was a breath of fresh air for Izroth. But, it still felt a bit strange to see not that part listed on the quest.
After discussing a few more details regarding the quest, everyone simply sat and had an idle chat as they waited to be contacted by the members of the Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan.
Though to say that everyone chatted with one another was a bit of an overstatement. In fact, it was Mirage who did most of the talking while everyone listened. Since none of them really knew each other that well, Mirage took it upon herself to try and break the ice between everyone.
But, even though Izroth and Midnight did not mind talking, Ying Yue was a different story. She sat there and only gave a small nod or head shake when asked a question. Mirage eventually gave up on the idea of trying to drag her into the conversation. The odd part was that she was fine with speaking up until a few moments ago, even if it was only a couple of words here and there.
Around fifteen minutes later, a middle-aged man entered into the inn's lobby. He had short black hair, blue eyes, and a healthy, as well as, sturdy look about him. He wore an expensive-looking robe with the symbol of a silver hawk holding onto a mountain with its talons.
He looked over the lobby of the inn for a moment before his eyes eventually landed on Izroth's table as he approached them.
"I was starting to think that you stood us up." Mirage said as she looked over in Izroth's direction with a smirk on her face.
Izroth understood what Mirage was getting at as he inwardly shook his head. A wild imagination indeed!
"I like to keep the appointments I make, it's one of the cornerstones of a good businessman." The man responded.
He then properly faced the group and said, "Young friends, I am glad to see that you are all well. I see we even have a couple of unfamiliar faces. Allow me to introduce myself. I am one of the vice-leaders of the Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan, Robinarzin. But you, my young friends, may call me Robin. I am the one currently overseeing this venture of ours." The man said with a welcoming and warm smile on his face.
However, as Robin looked at the group, one could see a slight look of worry hidden away within his eyes.
Mirage realized this and asked, "Is something wrong?"
Robin released a small sigh and spoke with a weary look on his face as he replied, "To be quite honest, I was hoping that a few more people would be accompanying you. Though I suppose we should be thankful since not many capable adventurers are willing to come out this far."
"We're strong, you know? You can count each of us as fifty or one hundred adventurers combined." Mirage said in a half-joking manner. Of course, she was being serious about the being strong part, however, the counting each of them as fifty or one hundred was obviously overexaggerated.
"Ah, you must forgive me if I've come off as being rude. It's not that I'm doubting your strength, it's just that we can use all the help we can get given the dangers located at the outer regions of Proximus. We've already had to change our travel plans five times and we simply can't afford to keep doing so or our customers will end up abandoning us. Therefore, I'll be counting on all of you." Robin said.
After talking for a few minutes, Robin started to lead Izroth and the others towards the temporary campsite that the Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan set up outside of the village. On their way there, Robin answered any questions they had for him with ease and in an eloquent manner. One could tell that he had a good amount of experience when it came to dealing with people.
"How many people will be guarding?" Izroth asked.
"This may come off as being a bit heartless, however, your main focus should be on guarding the wagons of our caravan." Robin responded.
Mirage frowned and said, "Isn't that a bit cruel?"
Robin, however, shook his head and replied, "The members of the Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan, including myself, have taken an oath to our customers that no matter what cost, we will always deliver a quality product without fail."
He then continued, "If that means that a few of us has to die in the process, then we are willing to make that sacrifice. Of course, I would rather no one die. After all, the members of this caravan are like family to me. However, I will not betray their trust or the trust of the customers to satisfy my own selfish desires."
"That's... A little extreme..." Mirage muttered to herself.
Izroth did not necessarily agree with Robin's outlook, however, he respected it nonetheless. Not many people were willing to throw down their lives for something that they wanted to protect. But, of course, he had no intentions of letting anyone die on his watch. After all, they would fail the quest if they let ten or more members die.
"Though to answer your question, there will be a total of fifty members, including myself. Since we traded quantity for speed due to the circumstances in the outer areas of Proximus, our group will only be transporting twenty-five wagons of goods." Robin said.
"I'll be blunt, fifty people and twenty-five wagons is a lot to cover for only four people." Midnight commented.
Izroth was about to bring this up as well. Even with his agility, it would be impossible for him to constantly protect such a large span of wagons alone, let alone guarantee that no one would die or no wagon would be stolen. Unless he could constantly keep his Flickering Steps off cooldown, which was not possible, there was no way that the four of them alone could guard that caravan.
"I've sent two others to the nearest village a few days ago to try and recruit a few more adventurers, however, there's no guarantee that they'll be successful. But, we'll find our answer soon enough. Though our plans will not change even if they don't bring back any extra help. We have put this journey off long enough." Robin spoke with a somber look in his eyes.
A few moments later, Izroth and the others reached the outside area of the village that was located less than one hundred meters away from the Amaharpe-Proximus border
They had arrived at the temporary campsite of Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan.