Due to the sudden bright flash and loud explosion noise, he instinctively dropped to the floor to avoid getting blasted away. But he didn't feel any destructive force hitting him. The Brightness slowly receded. He looked towards the pedestal at the center of the room. The pedestal looked fine, it still stood at its place without any sign of damage, not even a scratch was visible. However, the floating cube was gone.
He stood up, bewildered. The flash and explosion sounded so powerful, but it seemed that was it. Simply light and sound, there was no force in it. Which he appreciated, he would hate it if the reward of solving the puzzle was getting himself blasted to pieces.
He approached the pedestal. The cube was really gone. The top of the pedestal was empty. He tapped on the panel screen, no response.
"Are you kidding me?" He said out loud. What did he waste all those hours solving the puzzle for?
He was frustrated. He looked around the room. It was exactly the same as before, only without the floating blocks anymore.
So that's it? Should I go now? He thought dejectedly. He still had to go through that bloody Lizardman again. Then he still had to fight his way around the neighborhoods, looking for a place to spend the night. By his estimation, the sun should have set by now. He had spent a rather long time working on that puzzle. He thought about spending the night right here, but he was not sure if it would be safe. What if after some time, the lizardman was allowed to come in. He didn't want to get ambushed by that dreadful monster while he was asleep.
When he was still contemplating on what to do, he thought he heard something. It was faint at first, but it was getting clearer. It was a woman's voice. In the beginning, he couldn't make out what the voice was trying to say. It was like an unintelligent murmur, or some strange foreign language. Finally, the woman's voice spoke out something he could understand.
"Young adventurer, you have done well."
Jack looked around, trying to determine the source of the voice. But it was as if the voice came from all directions at the same time. Like echo reverberating from the curve walls.
"I thank you for your endeavor in reforming my consciousness," the voice continued. "A few more days, and I might have lost to the void. Forever gone from this world."
Upon the last sentence, the voice seemed to condense. It's no longer sounded as if it came from everywhere. It sounded like it was spoken from right behind him.
He turned around and saw a stunning woman in a white garment. Her feature was perfect. Her thin yet long eyebrow accentuated her blue eyes below, which were like clear water and gave a sense of tranquility. Her aquiline nose and full lips were perfectly proportionate with her flawless face. Her long golden hair was half-covered by a white head veil. Her white robe was simple with no decoration. However, it still gave the impression of richness.
The woman walked towards him. The gracefulness of her movements showed a disciplined temperament. Her gaze was calm. She exuded a mature and firm mentality. Jack didn't know why, but the closer she got to him, the calmer he felt. All his worries evaporated as if morning dew touched by rays of sunlight. He felt true peace for the first time since the world changed.
Her voice which was like a well-tuned melody spoke to him, "It was a good thing you have stumbled upon this place and managed to reconstruct the core of my consciousness. It would have been a disaster upon the world otherwise. There are dark forces in this world that wish to prevent me from getting in their way. Now I need to reconvene with my brothers and sisters to discuss our plan."
He was completely lost on what the lady just said.
The woman looked at him with a serene demeanor and asked, "Do you have something that you wish for my assistance before I leave?"
What? She was going to leave already? Jack was immediately whipped back to attention. "Wait, wait!" He called out, afraid the lady would vanish as mysteriously as she had appeared.
"Yes?" She gazed at him patiently as if an elder to her junior.
"Are you saying that big floating cube from before was you?" He asked.
"It was part of my consciousness," she answered. "But with it being fragmented, I might as well be lost. You have my gratitude, young adventurer."
"Um, you are welcome. I am Storm Wind by the way," he offered her his in-game name.
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Storm Wind." She gave an enchanting smile that might charm any being.
"May I be so bold as to ask for my lady's name?"
"That's too kind of you. You can call me Serenity."
Serenity, the name suited her very well. Jack thought in his mind.
"Is there anything else, Mr. Storm Wind?"
What was this? Normally in an RPG game, you would be given a clue or reward once you cleared out a stage. Why did it feel like he was not getting anything for his troubles?
"Do you know what had happened to the world?" He asked.
"What do you mean?" She gave a confused look.
"The world. Before, it was a real-world with millions of people in it. And now it was a game world with monsters roaming in it."
"I have no idea what you mean, Mr. Storm Wind," she said. "But there is indeed foul wind afoot. As I mentioned before, there are Dark Forces rising. If we didn't do anything, the world as we know it will be no more."
Crap, this might be a storyline of this game world. He would not get any clues regarding the changes to the real world from her.
"If you have nothing more, I will take my leave."
"Wait, wait!" He said nervously. Bloody hell, why was she so anxious to leave. It looked like he had no choice but to be shameless. If he could not get a clue, then at least he needed to get a reward for all his troubles.
"You said you were safe because of me, right? Shouldn't I get some rewards from it?"
"Ah," she seemed to have realized. She looked at him as if he was a debt collector.
Damn! Why was it looking as if he was the bad guy now? Shouldn't it normal for the hero to be rewarded after saving a maiden?
"Well, I have restrictions that prevented me from giving you things that may directly upset the balance of the world," she said. "This incident was not meant to be, so I was not meant to give any rewards. That being said, you did save me and were indirectly the benefactor of the world. As long as it was not rare items, then I could still award you, but of course, giving you normal items was also not appropriate considering your merit."
She appeared to be having deep thought for a while. Jack silently waited beside her patiently.
After some time, she finally said, "All right, I've thought about it. I will grant you three gifts."
"Three?" Jack was excited.
"The first is my blessing," she said as she blew a kiss to him.
He stood there blankly. What? That's it? Are you joking with me?
Before he was about to protest for such vague reward, he heard a sound of notification.
"Congratulations, you have received the Blessing of Goddess. Permanently increase luck by 10."
He immediately opened his status window. Yes, it was an Inherent Skill. It was there under his other inherent skill Immortal Soul. His luck was now 13 points including the bonus from his ring. That was a great boost from before. He figured with such high luck, the drop rate should not be too shabby now, right?
Wait, he suddenly realized something. Did it say Blessing of Goddess?