Chapter 531 Tale Variation
"Who are you?" Izroth questioned as he inwardly frowned.
Viselo was not mentioned anywhere within the Tale of The Snow That Falls In Summer. Therefore, besides Aurie and Selene, no one in the dreamworld should have been aware of that name.
The sole reason Aurie possessed that information was due to one of the benefits she received as the dreamworld's owner. If not for that, then the only person who could recognize as Viselo was Selene.
"I'm going to remove my hood—try not to run your sword through my neck when I move." The hooded figure said half-jokingly. They slowly motioned their hands to the side of their hood and pulled it down. As they did so, snow-white hair tied up into a ponytail could be seen covering the nape of their neck.
They then continued, "I'm turning around."
When the mysterious individual faced Izroth, he was greeted by two mesmerizing eyes that resembled sapphires. Her appearance was beautiful, but there was an almost natural fierceness to her presence.
After the woman removed her hood, Izroth was shocked—at least, at first.
'Isn't this Queen Nixpera? No, something's off.'
While their clothes differed and there were some minor features absent, for the most part, the woman in front of him bore a striking resemblance to Queen Nixpera!
But, after taking a closer look, Izroth realized that this woman could not be Queen Nixpera. There was a small beauty mark under the right eye—this was something that did not appear in the picture of Queen Nixpera that the system presented to Izroth. Not to mention, there was no reaction from his Eyes of Knowledge.
"This place isn't exactly ideal for our conversation. Mind if we talk elsewhere?" The woman asked. There was no fear in her eyes as she spoke. It seemed that she genuinely was unafraid of Izroth harming her.
Izroth lowered his sword and returned it to the leather belt at his side. He had a feeling this woman would not talk even if she were to be threatened. While he could eliminate her in this alleyway and get rid of a potential threat, that would leave too many things open to speculation. Ultimately, she revealed no signs of hatred or hostility towards him, so there was no harm in satisfying his curiosity.
The woman released a sigh of relief and said, "I really thought you were going to kill me for a second. I know it's been a long time since we've met, but is that any way to greet a member of your own family?"
Why was this the first time he heard of this?
A few moments later...
Izroth and the woman were currently inside the room of an inn. However, unlike the shoddy Blue Heart Inn, this place was on a different level. The room was ten times the size as the one at the Blue Heart Inn. The bed looked comfortable and was large enough for four people to lay down. There was not a speck of dust or broken furniture in sight!
This inn was the place the woman led Izroth to after they left the alleyway.
'Being able to afford to stay in a place like this means she's certainly well off. She claims to be a member of Viselo's family, but how are they related? Most of all, why did the Dreamer's Knowledge keep something this important hidden?'
"I'm pretty shocked that you don't even remember my name." The woman stated as she removed her cloak, unveiling a perfect-fitting set of white and blue leather armor. There were two daggers on her waist and another two strapped to her ankles.
"Do you really not remember? It's me, Nixere—your cousin."
'Nixere? There was no character with that name in the tale. Is this what she meant by a tale variation?'
When Izroth spoke with Aurie, she informed him that he should be wary of what she referred to as a Tale Variation.
While it did not occur 100% of the time, the possibility existed for the story to undergo a Tale Variation based upon the strength of those within the dreamworld.
According to Aurie, the stronger those trapped inside her Dream Domain, the more likely the odds that Tale Variations would show up.
In simple terms, a Tale Variation was just as it sounded—an uncontrollable modification to the original story. This was the primary reason why Aurie was glad that an ally ended up with the Dreamer role.
Tale Variations were neither good nor bad, but rather what you made of them. If used correctly, it would become a great advantage for the Dreamer; however, it could turn into a nightmare if utilized poorly and without caution.
Following Nixere's introduction, Izroth's system alert went off.
〈System Alert: You have discovered the hidden role «Nixere». She can now assist you in influencing the tale's outcome.〉
〈System Alert: You have unlocked the Viselo character skillset «Sword Arts: Four Steps of Death».〉
〈System Alert: New information has been added to «Dreamer's Knowledge».〉
Izroth swiftly read over the system alerts, as well as the new data from Dreamer's Knowledge.
'For the most part, the story itself is unchanged. However, this segment here is...'
There were two areas of the story in particular that changed as everything around it remained the same. Queen Nixpera had been given a younger sister who was never there before—Princess Nixere. In that same area of the story, it spoke of Nixere meeting with her distant cousin Viselo. According to it, the two of them were supposed to work together to liberate Queen Nixpera.
Another fascinating aspect was the large blurred out gap inserted into the middle of the story. However, what surprised Izroth the most was that one of the character roles had the ending of their story experience a drastic change!
Queen Nixpera, who initially took her life as a result of King Sonamus killing the one she loved, had now been noted to survive after escaping the palace with the help of Princess Nixere and Viselo!
But, Izroth did not know if this was a good or bad thing. If Queen Nixpera turned out to be an enemy, this would only lend a helping hand to those who wanted to eliminate him. However, if it was an ally, Izroth knew that he could not ignore an opportunity to save them.
There was also the issue of everyone else still being listed for death.
'I have to identify everyone's roles before taking any extreme actions. How bothersome.'
The good news was that he now had another trustworthy ally in this dreamworld—at least, for the time being.
Once he finished reading the updates to Dreamer's Knowledge, Izroth checked on the second thing that caught his eye, Viselo's character skillset, Sword Arts: Four Steps of Death.
'Oh? This is different from the skills the system normally provides. Is it because I'm inside the dreamworld?'
Character Skillset: Sword Arts: Four Steps of Death
«Advanced Swordsplay - Uses Remaining: ∞/∞»
«Death in One Step - Uses Remaining: 2/2»
«Two Steps of Death - Uses Remaining: 10/10»
«Three Steps of Death - Uses Remaining: 20/20»
«Four Steps of Death - Uses Remaining: 30/30»
There was no description of the skills, nor did it display their effects. However, Izroth felt as though a rush of knowledge poured into his mind the instant he received the skillset. Suddenly, the Sword Arts: Four Steps of Death was no longer stranger to him. In fact, it was like it had been with Izroth his entire life!
'A strange sensation. Even without ever having executed any of these skills, they feel familiar. Still... Uses? Does this mean I can only execute each skill a limited number of times? Though I suppose without the presence of a cooldown timer or an energy source like mana, this type of restriction makes sense.'
"Now's not the time to fall ill, cousin. We have to rescue my elder sister and take her away from this forsaken place." Nixere said with a frown after noticing Izroth's seemingly zoned out state as he was sifting through the system alerts.
"Do you have a plan?" Izroth asked while closing out the system alerts.
"I was beginning to think you'd never ask," Nixere replied with a grin.
She then went on and said, "You know the ceremony that's taking place tonight? As the queen's younger sister, naturally, I too received an invitation. I will use that opportunity to contact my elder sister, and we will work out a concrete plan from there."
"That being said—it would be quite out of place for a princess to attend a ceremony alone. That's why I need you to accompany me to the palace tonight, dear cousin."