Chapter 516 Arkogis“s Ordeal, The Secret Realm
The entrance that Izroth stepped through disappeared and was replaced by a concrete wall.
'Oh? Is it trying to trap me here?'
〈System Alert: You have entered the hidden area «Arkogis's Ordeal»〉
The statue of the unknown creature had six arms and five eyes. Four out of five of its eyes stayed shut, and one rested at the center of its forehead—it was this eye that appeared to be observing Izroth.
'This creature does not belong to the Skounae race. And, now that I'm this close to it, while it feels similar to the Netherworld energy I have previously crossed paths with, there's something novel about it. More importantly, my Energy Vision Sense is not detecting any signs of life from it. But... Why does it feel as though it's alive?'
Izroth approached the statue and fully circled around it to study every side. Everywhere he moved, the statue's eye followed him. However, besides its eye, the statue did not budge from its position.
When Izroth reached the opposite side of the statue, he happened upon a silver plate with words printed on its surface.
〈System Alert: You have discovered «Arkogis's Message»〉
Life is unfair; don't you agree? A simplicity is ever present—sinking in one's self despair and solitude. It rejects you. Refuses to permit you the right of drowning in your own pleasures. Struggle, don't struggle—it will undoubtedly unearth a way to return you to the surface where the unknown awaits. Yet, with despair and solitude, it allows you to descend into an endless abyss. How unfair life is to all. But, if life is unfair to all, in the end, does not that make it fair? The price of immortality is an individual's sanity, and eventually, their humanity. Death is merely the inclusion of a delusion within an illusion that remains an elusion. To the future soul that reads this text, I leave you with a question. However, this question has no correct answer. Yet, you must choose correctly. Which is fair? Will you answer life... Or, death? Choose. - "First Son of Day \u0026 Night, Arkogis"
Izroth was unfamiliar with that name; however, the text itself spoke volumes of the type of person Arkogis used to be, or perhaps, still is. He believed that Arkogis was someone who had been enlightened—so to speak. It was also a possibility that they made a choice and ended up regretting it later on.
'Why is this room so heavily guarded? It even has a secret entrance. Can it be that this Arkogis or its statue is of that great of importance to the Skounae?'
All of a sudden, the willpower checks that had been going nonstop ever since Izroth took his first step into the room had come to an abrupt halt. At the same time, the eye on the statue that was carefully observing Izroth slowly shut closed.
〈System Alert: You have successfully resisted the «Eye of Arkogis»!〉
〈System Alert: You have met the requirements of «Arkogis's Ordeal»!〉
〈System Alert: You have discovered a Secret Realm!〉
〈System Alert: You have received x1 «Realm Fragment IV»!〉
〈System Alert: You have obtained the right to enter «Secret Realm: Arkogis's Dream»!〉
Truly his trip to Vocstracane was not in vain! Izroth swiftly opened his inventory and removed an object in the shape of a metallic black icosahedron. At its core was a dim silver light that pulsated like a heartbeat.
Name: Realm Fragment IV
Realm: Arkogis's Dream
Fragments Located: 4/6
Realm Status: Closed
Usage: Once all six fragments are discovered, the location of the «Secret Realm: Arkogis's Dream» will be revealed. However, the Secret Realm can only be opened when all six fragments are gathered at the access point. Those without a «Realm Fragment» for that specific Realm are unable to enter.
Special Note: This item has a 100% chance to be dropped upon death. This item's owner will continuously have their location revealed to others who hold a «Realm Fragment» for «Secret Realm: Arkogis's Dream». After all six fragments have been located, this item's owner cannot be protected by safe zones.
This was Izroth's first time coming across a Realm Fragment to a Secret Realm. He had read about Secret Realms; however, everything about them was shrouded in mystery.
Even though Izroth's current understanding of Secret Realms was limited, the most useful information he read about their existence was before RML's official release. Or, to be more precise, the original owner of his body read it. But, since their souls were merged, this memory was something Izroth naturally recalled as if it were his own.
According to the beta testers, a Secret Realm was like a dungeon or raid; however, it was an entirely different type of beast to confront. For one, there was no respawn feature. This meant that once someone died in the Secret Realm, they would be automatically ejected. Not only that, but they would suffer harsh failure penalties depending on the difficulty of the Secret Realm. Even reverting back to level one was not out of the question!
In the closed beta, the beta testers only attempted two Secret Realms in total. One Secret Realm was two stars, and the other was rated four stars. No one knew just how high the difficulty of Secret Realms could get, but one of the beta testers who attempted the two-star Secret Realm at that time wrote in a guide, "If you ever have the chance to enter a Secret Realm, you only need to keep one thing in mind. Everything you have earned up until that point is meaningless—utterly useless."
As for the four-star Secret Realm, there was no available information. The only thing that was known for sure was that the group of beta testers who ventured into it was wiped out in less than one minute!
'Something even the beta testers have little knowledge of—the rewards cannot be modest.'
A few seconds after Izroth removed the Realm Fragment from his inventory and inspected it; a minimap opened up before him. This map had no particular land markings and appeared to be a simple screen.
On the map were three green dots and one blue dot. The green dots represented the other Realm Fragment holders, while the blue dot marked Izroth's current position. Each dot had a set of coordinates that hovered over it and followed the dot whenever it moved.
'They're quite spread out. Though I suppose there is nothing that can be done until all the fragments are collected.'
Izroth returned the Realm Fragment to his inventory as the minimap vanished. Since there were still two fragments left to be discovered, there was nothing he could do about it. Furthermore, even though he gained some incredible benefits by coming to Vostracane, he still had a promise to keep.
Shrieeeek! Shrieeeek! Shrieeeek!
Out of nowhere, the red hue of light within the room turned blue as the sound of ear-piercing shrieks repeatedly echoed.
Izroth's first thought was that the alarms somehow went off. But, not even half a breath of time passed when his Soul Sense began to go haywire.
Clank! Click! Creeeeak...
The massive metal doors started to creep open, and the moment they did, a surge of familiar energy swept into the room.
Izroth moved into a corner of the room that contained a shadow as his Shadow Blending skill activated and hid his presence. He had less than a minute remaining on the skill and, if possible, did not want to draw any unnecessary attention just yet.
However, given the reaction of his Soul Sense, Izroth knew—whoever came through that door, he would have no choice but to confront them to make his way out!
'These flames... It's them?'
Izroth's Energy Vision Sense was active as he noticed two flames that he encountered once before. One of the flames belonged to Earl Salokin, and the one next to it was unquestionably Earl Essirie's. However, it was strange. Indeed, those two were threatening individuals, but even when the two of them were hostile towards him back near the Amaharpe and Malentansium border, his Soul Sense never gave off such a disturbing warning. Then, just what was-
"Are you enjoying yourself?" A voice sounded from above Izroth.
Hovering upside down directly above his head was none other than the Antumbra Night Lord, Zarolas!
"Oh..? To react immediately without freezing in fear before this lord's presence—it's just as Salokin said. An interesting human, indeed." Zarolas stated as he witnessed Izroth's flickering silhouette gradually fade away.
He then positioned himself upright as his feet touched the ground and continued, "Very well. Let's see if you are worthy of this lord's notice."
A black wisp of energy appeared at the tip of Zarolas' index finger. With a light flick, this black wisp soared from his fingertip and moved at terrifying speeds as it rushed out of Arkogis's Ordeal!