"I know that all of you may still have many questions you wish to ask, however, let's keep it short since we do not have much time to spare." Gear said getting straight to the point.
"Is there any other information you have regarding the Chaotic Dogma Realm?" Izroth asked.
"Everything that's important has already been explained. I wish there was more to give you to all of you, however, the Chaotic Dogma Realm is unpredictable and forever changing. It does not stay settled for long and is never formed in the same way twice." Gear explained.
'A ruthless place indeed. There is no way to be fully prepared since it experiences constant shifts in its environment.'
"Anything at all is fine. It does not have to be important. As long as it pertains to the Chaotic Dogma Realm, no bit of information is too small." Zi Yi said with some anticipation hidden away behind her voice. If she was going to put herself at risk, the least she could do was leave no stone unturned.
"Oh?" Gear raised his brows as he looked at Zi Yi. "And who might you be, young lady?"
"I am called Zi Yi, it is an honor to meet one of the seven heroes." Zi Yi spoke in a respectful manner. She had read about some things and managed to connect them together once she heard Zendai's name. Back in his young adventurer days, Zendai went by another name to hide his identity at the time. The name he was known by in the world at that time was Wave.
"Seven heroes? Is that something amazing? They sound strong!" Guan Yu asked curiously. To him, there was nothing more manly than a hero charging forward and braving dangers that no other man dared to.
"Ahahaha, seven heroes? Yes, yes I remember someone wrote a few tales about our adventures. However, we're no heroes." Gear lifted his flask to his lips and took a drink of some of the medicine inside. He was reminded of the painful memories of their last major battle against "that" monstrosity.
Heroes? They did not deserve such a title! They had only managed to wound it and the divine beings had to interfere in order to seal it. Too much had been lost for Gear to enjoy the title of hero.
Everyone grew silent as the atmosphere changed into a heavy and depressing one. When Gear realized that his words and attitude were affecting his surroundings, he decided to push down all of the troubles and lighten up the mood.
"Well, now that you say it I don't think I mind it. "Heroes" does have a nice ring to it, ahahaha!" Gear laughed joyously.
Although the atmosphere did lighten up, Izroth already knew what it was that troubled Gear. After all, he had personally told Izroth of the story concerning their final stand and the sacrifices made. For years Gear has had to live with the guilt and feeling of being powerless to protect the person he loved the most.
To Gear, such a situation should be like an eternal punishment. However, Gear had grown skilled and accustomed to misdirecting those around him.
"As for your question, there are a few things. But, I don't see how any of it would be of any assistance to you." After thinking for a moment, Gear had finally remembered a few details that remained somewhat constant inside of the Chaotic Dogma Realm.
"According to our records, there are only three constants within the Chaotic Dogma Realm. The first is that one must reach the end in order to be successful. The second is that if one does not reach the end, it is impossible to return from the Chaotic Dogma Realm. The last is that it has two blood moons." Gear explained.
Zi Yi listened carefully as Gear spoke and memorized the information in an instant.
"How strong are the monsters there?" This time, Halls was the one to ask the question. After all, he was the party's tank and would have to face the highest level of danger head-on.
"I can't give an exact estimate of their strength, however, just know that there are no weak monsters that exist within the Chaotic Dogma Realm." Gear responded.
"Isn't it too risky sending in so many groups at once? From what I understand, it's to motivate the groups to accomplish the quest faster. Also, it seems to me as if you do not wish to put all of your eggs into one basket. However, this can have an opposite effect of what was originally intended." Zi Yi pointed out.
Gear sighed, "Once that guy makes up his mind, he won't budge from his position. Even with danger looming over us, he will always think of a way to inspire growth in competition."
"Working together with the other teams to reach the end is the most ideal situation. However, to him, it is the most boring and unrealistic solution. It's a bit too complex to explain with the time we have remaining, but I can say this... I trust that man with my life and so I trust his decision." There was no pause or hesitation when Gear made that statement.
There was a brief period of silence throughout the room once Gear finished speaking.
Izroth was the first to break the silence. "Then, what do we do if someone forcibly attempts to halt our advances?" Izroth himself already knew the answer to that question, but he wanted to let his fellow party members hear it directly from Gear himself.
"Of course, you do what you must to survive." Gear spoke in a firm tone of voice. There was no way he would tell them to run away or just submit and accept the consequences. There was only one thing to do when your survival was at stake, fight back! However, he hoped that it would not come to that with everything that was on the line.
The party grew a little tense after they thought about having to deal with the Chaotic Dogma Realm and potentially dangerous players at the same time. The people who were entering into the Chaotic Dogma Realm were not weak by any means.
If they got into a fight, there was a chance that not all of them would survive. Izroth could not possibly protect every last one of them no matter how strong he was. However, they were confident in their own capabilities and did not feel the need to be protected.
"All of you will enter into the Chaotic Dogma Realm one group at a time. Every team will be sent to different locations, but the distance to reach the end should be the same no matter where you start off." Gear explained.
He then continued, "While the chances of running into another group before nearing the end are extremely low, it is not impossible. So you must use caution from the very moment you enter the Chaotic Dogma Realm."
After they asked all of their questions, the party had nothing to do except wait for the portal to open up. When Guan Yu and Halls figured out have strong Gear was, they took the opportunity to ask for any pointers and about the stories of his days as an adventurer.
Zi Yi, however, had another topic on her mind. "Is it possible to gain access to the palace library?" This was one of the main reasons she tagged along on the quest. She had not forgotten about her original goal of being able to freely enter into the palace library. Although she knew it may not be possible, there was still a chance.
Gear stopped to think for a bit, "This..." He appeared to be in deep thought for a moment as if he were trying hard to remember something.
Zi Yi secretly sighed in disappointment. She knew that Gear was trying to find a way to let her down easily. Maybe the palace library was just for show and no player would ever be able to truly gain free access to it.
"There's a library here...?" Gear had a genuinely surprised expression on his face. "I'm not much of a books person, so I can't help you out much in that department. However, I'll have a word with Terminus and that other guy about your interest in it." The only way Gear would bother reading in his free time is if it involved his fist or a blade.
Zi Yi's face lit up with excitement, however, she quickly calmed herself and gave a polite bow. "Thank you for your consideration."
Just as Zi Yi finished thanking Gear, Izroth and everyone within his party received a system alert. They were not the only ones, as the other teams that were invited also received the same exact system alert as them.
〈System Alert: Warning! A limited time portal into the «Chaotic Dogma Realm» has been opened.〉
Izroth and his party bodies started to dissipate and turn into small light blue particles.
'What a strange feeling. It's almost... Refreshing in a way.'
Everyone was examining their hands and feet as they were slowly vanishing.
"You will be transported directly into the Chaotic Dogma Realm from this room. Since all that needed to be said has already been said, I'll just say one final thing. Good luck, fellow adventurers." Gear smiled and gave a thumbs up.
Izroth and his party had, at last, completely disappeared leaving behind a large white room with only a single man standing inside.
"Well then... I suppose it's time this old man took action." Gear's body flickered before, he too, vanished from the white room.
At the same moment that the teams within the palace were sent into the Chaotic Dogma Realm, an alert went off to all players located within Amaharpe and all of its surrounding areas.
〈System Alert: Warning! The city of Amaharpe is coming under attack in thirty minutes! The event «Protectors of Amaharpe» has been initiated.〉
The system alert listed the rewards one would gain from participating in the Protection of Amaharpe event. The quest itself was fairly simple, protect Amaharpe from any monsters that tried to invade the city. Every monster eliminated would grant a player a set amount of points depending on how strong the monster was.
Rewards were given out by the system based on the number of total points a player could rack up. The point system was quite different for healers, as instead of eliminating monsters, they received their points based on the amount of healing done on the battlefield.
The tops guilds were caught off guard by the sudden event. There was no warning to it and so they immediately began to organize themselves to prepare for the event. After all, the top prize was something no one would be able to ignore.
Meanwhile at the Cross Haven temporary guild headquarters...
"Leader, there aren't many details about this event. I believe that for now, we should ally with another top guild in order to gain more control over the situation. Our relationship with Hyper Symphony is pretty good, I would suggest them as our first choice." A female player by the name of Petals suggested.
Petals had short pink hair with light gray eyes. A pair of glasses set upon her face as the bridge sat gently on her dainty button nose. She was cute and most men would feel the natural need to protect her. She was one of Cross Haven's tactical officers.
The one she referred to as leader was the current guild leader of Cross Haven, Ewan. "Guild relationships within RML has yet to be properly formed. This is the first major event to occur and it may very well shape the future relationship for all the top guilds. This, in turn, will also affect the smaller guilds." Ewan said.
"While Hyper Symphony is the most ideal choice to form an alliance with, I believe we should proceed with caution in doing so as to prevent any sort of falling out. Guidelines have to be set in order to avoid confusion and so I'll leave this to you and Hyper Symphony's tactical officer." Ewan responded.
"Understood, sir." Petals gave a respectful bow before leaving the room to make the proper arrangements.
Once Petals left the room, there were only six people remaining there. Ewan, Dragus, Wess, and three other players were within the room. Luckily, all of them were already together discussing another important matter. However, other guilds may not be so lucky.
"Hah, thirty minutes to prepare for a surprise event? How ridiculous." Dragus voiced his displeasure.
"We can be considered fortunate that they have granted us a thirty-minute window to prepare." Ewan said.
"I wonder if there will be any strong monsters that come running along." Wess was fired up and ready to battle.