Chapter 27 First Multiplayer Scenario 11
Two strange creatures and two colliding types of energy. Their voices fought, bloomed, tussled in the air, and caused real damage. The demon's body was torn open like an animal whose body had been feasted upon by a school of piranhas. The flesh and bones underneath the gray skin were exposed. Its flesh was pulled off until only a skeleton remained and collapsed to the ground in a heap. Many signs of decay appeared on the tree monster's body, extending from the trunk to the tips of the branches. These marks were like wounds that refused to heal and continued to cause damage to the tree monster. From the looks of things, it was going to be a happy ending where both monsters died in the battle, but suddenly, darkness chose that time to fall…
The group was tossed into a darkness that could swallow anything. Be it outside or inside, even though there were lights around them, all they could see was darkness. This time, the darkness was not accompanied by those strange noises, but this had nothing to do with them having their hands over their ears because, several seconds later, a very clear whisper transferred into their ears.
"Inferior godlings that refuse to mind your own business, you will pay for what you've done…"
When the whisper ended, the darkness dissipated, and light returned. They stood up and looked toward the tree to see what kind of evolution it had experienced. Feng Bujue was the first to discover the anomaly. The monster did not look stronger; if anything, the injuries on its body had deepened, and its branches were falling, crumbling into ash.
"You're the inferior godling mentioned by the voice earlier?" Feng Bujue walked to communicate with the monster.
Before the other four could understand what he was doing, the tree had already opened its mouth to answer. "Humans… go and find the key to recover the seal."
"We've already found the Key of Fire," Feng Bujue said. "But what happened to this city? Who is behind this? Where is the Key of Wood?"
"Sam Montier, one of the Ruler of Time's servants, betrayed his time and was thus stripped of his godly power, banished to the endless River of Time…" By then, the branches of the tree had almost completely decayed, and even its trunk had started to turn into dust. "The centipede of a hundred legs, death without a body.
"Unfortunately, Sam Montier did not stop there. He used the last of his power to isolate this city from reality and use it as his hiding place. This place is no longer within the confines of time. It is a pool isolated from the River of Time."
The bark on the tree's face was rotting. "To escape the punishment from the Ruler of Time, he summoned the Demonic Door, and once the seal on the door is completely unlocked, it will connect this city with the demonic world. This place will fall under the influence of the Demon King, and this place will be taken out from the Ruler of Time's domain.
"Part of humanity formed a contract with Sam Montier. If they helped him open the seal on the door, they would be able to keep their lives, but once the demons swam out from the door, Sam Montier immediately abandoned those people. Before the demons stole the food from him, he sucked the humans greedily into the endless darkness.
"Only a few survivors managed to escape with two of the keys."
At this point, the tree had almost perished, but it pushed itself forward. "Sam Montier is unable to touch the seal or the keys himself, and he is unable to swallow humans who are close to these two things, but the demons can. Therefore, he promised the demons that, at the end of each 'cycle', he would present them with more power through the darkness. In return, the demons were tasked with finding and killing all the living persons in the city to ensure that no one will be able to reactivate the seal…"
"Where is the Key of Wood?" Feng Bujue asked again. He had a very bad feeling. With how things were going, there was a high chance that this NPC monster was going to die just right before it gave the important clue.
"The person who escaped with the Key of Wood died underground," the tree replied. "I've opened the door. After my corporeal self has faded away, you can move underground."
Its mouth dusted away. Several seconds later, starting from the trunk and spreading to the tip of its branches, the tree turned into a pile of black dust.
The tree had died, but it had managed to create a big hole in the ground, a perfect size for the players to crawl underground.
"Current quest changed, main quest has been updated." After the system audio finished, the quest detail in the quest tab changed to 'Enter the tunnel to find the Key of Wood'.
Feng Bujue turned back to look at the rest. "We should go to the aisle for daily products to see if we can find any flashlights before we venture forward."
The rest had just been given a whole lot to digest, and they had not caught up to speed. Several seconds later, Wang Tanzhi was the first to ask, "Erm… Brother Jue, what is happening? Do you mind translating it to us?"
Feng Bujue was already heading toward the aisle. "Based on the battle earlier and the sentence that was spoken in the dark, I realized that the tree monster is not in the same camp as the other monsters that we've met so far."
The other four followed behind Feng Bujue as they listened to his explanation.
"Considering that it was not long for this world, I quickly asked it three important questions, and it completed the role that was given to it as an NPC. After contributing a fight scene and some scenario details, it also handed us some hints, a passage forward, before logging off the scenario."
He walked to a shelf lying on the ground and picked up a random package. As he unwrapped it, he added, "Based on what the big tree said… only those within the vicinity of the keys or the Demonic Door will not disappear into darkness like the other humans at this city. This explains the situation at the police station, and it also suggests that the Key of Wood is not hidden inside this vacant shopping complex.
"Oh, by the way… I believe we are the exception. Perhaps because we are players, we do not belong under the category of 'humans' within this temporal space, or else we would have been killed by Sam Montier the moment we stepped into this scenario."
Feng Bujue paused for a second before continuing. "If we're talking about the current situation, actually it's quite clear already. The big boss of this scenario uses the darkness to strengthen all the demons spread through this map around every thirty minutes. The boss himself might not even show up. In fact, he might not even have a 'real form', but in his place, that demons are a constant threat.
"The boss' goal is most likely to kill all the humans as they can use the keys. Temporarily, this city is connected to the demonic realm, and only by hiding here will the Ruler of Time be unable to reach him. The way for us to clear this scenario is to find the two keys to reactivate the seals on the Demonic Door. After we succeed, this space will lose its connection to the demonic realm, and the character known as the Ruler of Time will show up to tear Sam Montier into pieces."
"This sure is interesting world building…" Wang Tanzhi sighed.
Feng Bujue had already found several flashlights. This time, they were all usable, but there were no batteries. "These are all usable. Each of us should take two just in case. Now we need to look for batteries.
"Oh, I saw hockey sticks, baseball bats, and gold clubs in the sports aisle… Those things won't have any equip requirement. We should be able to use them."
Just like that, the five armed themselves. This time, each one had at least one normal quality weapon. Ms. Saddest also found a set of kitchen knives that were slightly longer than Wang Tanzhi's fruit knife. Most of them grabbed one each. Xiao Tan finally had the chance to abandon the fruit knife that he had obtained during his tutorial.
Only Long Aomin did not choose a kitchen knife. Instead, he opted for a Chinese Cleaver, the extra heavy one that was normally used for hacking bones. It seemed like the man preferred to use heavier weapons.
It took them ten minutes to do all that. Considering that there might be monsters underground and the time limit before the next darkness descent, they did not waste any time and got down into the hole with Long Aomin leading the way.
When they first crawled into the hole, it felt cramped and oppressive. They stepped on loose soil, and the road forward tilted down. There was no light, but after a short journey, they found themselves in a relatively wider underground sewer. At least they were able to stand upright. The tree had broken through the path between the sewer and the area underneath the shopping complex. Instead, the person who had the Key of Wood had merely taken the sewer. Since the tree had given a direct hint that said person had 'died' underground, the chance of monsters hiding in the sewer was quite high.
The circular sewer gave the group a strange sense of oppression. The air around them seemed as if it would coagulate at any moment. But of course, that was their imagination. The real threat was the horrible stench and the dirty things that floated around their feet. Ever since Ms. Saddest had gotten down there, her face turned up. She kept her flashlight aimed ahaid, refusing to look at the things on the ground. She followed her boyfriend and stayed at the back of the group.
Long Aomin held the shield in one hand and the baseball bat in another while leading the way. If any monster suddenly appeared to ambush them, he would greet it with a bat to the head. If the baseball bat did not kill it, then there was still the cleaver to add a few chops. Feng Bujue and Wang Tanzhi walked in the middle of the group, ready to provide Long Aomin with support.
There was only one path in the sewer. The left side of the hole where they appeared out of was closed off. There were only some cracks where water was flowing through, so the chance of monsters ambushing them from that side was low. Letting Ms. Saddest and Mr. Loneliest close up the group meant that they were relatively safe.
They moved in that formation for five minutes.
"Look at that." Long Aomin suddenly stopped to say, "Right there, that's a dead body."
Feng Bujue stretched his neck forward to make his vantage point higher than Long Aomin's shoulders. He noticed that, after another ten meters, they would have reached the end of the sewer. The steel gate blocked their way while the water continued to flow through the gap. In the corner, their flashlights shone on a dead body.