Authors Note: Wheeew… My head hurts so bad recently. I don know why. But even though its been throbbing a lot, I managed to finish this weeks chapter. I actually really want to just shut up, sit down, and write all day. But life really doesn go the way we want to eh? Regardless, Ill do my best. In the meantime Im going to rest now. Its stupid late here in Indonesia, and I am sleepy af. Thanks for reading this. I wish you all a great day.
A tired, gruff looking man was writing report with a concerned look on his face. His long black hair sways as he moved his head between papers. He stopped writing after a while and furrowed his eyebrows. He looked around his office and sighed with sad eyes. His clean and pristine office is now in ruins. His cupboard lined with medals, awards, and certificates of excellence is now piled on the corner of the room. His various paintings and small sculptures are also done for.
He teared up a little while remembering the past glory of his room and shifted his attention to the mountains of paper in front of him.
*knock knock knock*
”Come in. ”
”Yes sir! ”
The door opened and a woman wearing the Adventurers Guild Association uniform came in with a salute and a stack of paper on her hands.
”More reports? ”
The man asked. His voice so clearly tinged in exhaustion.
”Y─yes sir! I have the most recent and updated report of the damages caused by the earthquake the other day. ”
The woman walked over to the side of the mans desk and handed over the stack of papers.
The men proceeded to read the paper occasionally sighing and massaging his temple.
After seemingly done reading the reports, the man put the stacks of paper on one side of his desk and lifted his head.
”How about the missing adventurers? Is there any news about the three missing adventurers? ”
”No. Not yet sir. At least not that Im aware of. The search teams size was quite small due to staff shortages sir. ”
”Staff shortages huh… ”
Once again the man massaged his temple as he thinks about the amount of problems that he is facing.
The woman watched the mans tired expression and expressed her condolences silently. Somewhere deep down, she sighed in relief that she does not hold the same weight of responsibility as the man in front of her.
The silence lingered for a while, when the womans pocket started to vibrate.
”Excuse me sir. I have to check this. ”
The woman took out a small pocket sized Communicators and pointed at it.
The man nods slowly. While the woman walked to the corner of the room to answer her call, he walked across the room towards a table and made himself a cold drink. Its just water, but the coolness relieved him of his stress for a little while.
”Sir, its from the Cathedral. They said a new coordinates appeared from the Teleporter. They need your expertise urgently sir. ”
Hearing this news, the man poured himself another cold drink.
”Call for every B-ranked and A-ranked party that are available and willing to rendezvous at the Cathedrals entrance at once. Ill head there first. ”
”Erm… Is that really necessary sir? That seems like too much of an overkill for just a new coordinates… ”
”Think about it Cherr. We were struck by a massive earthquake, and then we lost three adventurers. THEN theres a new unknown coordinates from the teleporter! These things are connected, Cherr! ”
The man wore his formal Adventurers Guild Association uniform with quite the desperate look on his eyes.
”Sir… I think thats too much of a stretch sir. Just be honest sir, you want to use this as an excuse to take a break from work. ”
”I do not know what you are talking about. Now, Ill go there first. See you there and don be late! ”
The man left the room hurriedly, leaving the sighing woman behind.
”I want to smack him so bad… It would be better if he doesn do a great job… But alas. ”
The woman activated her Communicator and began to give orders to the person on the other side.
My vision came back as soon as white fades.
I found myself standing in the middle of a plain white room. There are several giant pillars near the middle of the room. Far away in front of me is a giant door. Theres one behind me too. I seemed to have been teleported to the middle of this room.
I looked around me in quick motion and I found the two newbies lying unconscious on the floor not far behind me. I approached them cautiously and was relieved when I see that they
e still alive. The girl is still poisoned, but alive.
Luckily, I didn find any goblins. Maybe they
e teleported to a different part of the Lost Grounds.
”Just my luck… ”
Right. This is most definitely a Lost Grounds. A place, one might say a relic, of past civilizations that were somehow, someway, were cut off from the world. The only way to reach Lost Grounds is to teleport to them from the Cathedral or get forced teleported into them via unknown means.
The former would usually be an organized expedition of some sort. While the latter… More often than not, they don end well.
I lightly slapped the face of the two newbies to try and wake them up. At first I was doing it lightly. But since they refused to wake up, I started to hit them harder.
The boy jolted awake after a significantly hard slap. The girl soon follows. She was rubbing her cheeks, They were kinda red since I slapped them a few times.
”How are you two doing? ”
”W─we are fine, I think… Wait! What happened to the goblins? We were falling weren we? ”
The boy checked the girls condition first. She was better than before, but still weakened. The boy is fine too.
”We were forced teleported into a Lost Grounds. The goblins too, probably. I saw them dematerialized as well. ”
The twos face twitched at my report of the situation.
”Forced teleportation… Oh no… ”
Their face started to pale. Obviously. As new adventurers, they were surely told of the many stories of tragedies that befell many of their predecessors.
”Calm down. We are still safe. We have been in here for a while and there are no monsters. ”
”If we play our cards right, we might still have a chance to return safely. So, don lost hope just yet. ”
I said to the two of them. Getting all sad and hopeless about the situation won make it any better. The best thing that we could do is to do our best with the tools at our disposal.
”First things first. I don know your names yet, and since we are going to get stuck here for some time, its best if we know what we are capable of. ”
The boy and the girl replied with more energy than before. Perhaps they managed to cheer up a little.
”Ill go first then. My name is Ahiro. Im a C-ranked Vanguard. I mainly uses melee weapons such as swords. I can use spears and axes too, but I am not that proficient with them. ”
”Ill go next kak! Umm… My name is Alisa. Im a new adventurer so I don have a rank yet. And uh… I also uses melee weapons. Im better at using spears. ”
”What about the girl? ”
”Her name is Salim. She mainly uses Signs to attack from afar. Er… She doesn use weapons. But she does have a shield for defense kak. ”
The boy is talking again. Huh, right. I never heard the girl talk before.
”Is Salim okay? Why are you talking in her stead? ”
”Erm, she doesn like to talk kak. So Im usually the one that does the talking for us. ”
”I see… I guess that is fine. But can she properly communicate when the need arise? ”
Like when there are monsters near us. Or if she have to issue calls during combat.
”Definitely kak! During combat, she can speak just fine! ”
”Thats fine by me then. All right. Got any question? Ill answer what I can ”
The two met eyes with one another. Then Alisa raised his hand.
”Kak… I have a question. ”
”Sure, shoot. ”
”Er… What is that black sword you are holding? Its not dangerous right? It looks cursed. ”
The two looked at the sword on my hand cautiously.
Ah. Right. I am still holding the sword. Speaking of… [Borrowed Power] is close to expiring too.
Sorry you two, Ill have to lie.
”Its a relic of sort. I found it on a Lost Ground before. ”
”Whoa… That mustve been very rare! You are very lucky kak! ”
He complimented me with such honesty…
”I would like to have my own spear relic too! That would definitely help us a lot in our adventures! ”
He said that excitedly. He looked towards Salim and smiled, asking for her opinion. She nodded excitedly as well.
…I might have to give him a spare spear relic that I have. No, don think too much about it.
We talked a little bit about what we are going to do now. Our plans, our formation, our weapon conditions, etc.
After we decided the best course of action to take, we rest for a moment.
I also told them that I had just used [Borrowed Power] and [Delayed Consequence]. So I will have to rely on them for things relating to Signs and Crafts since my Mana pool is on the border at the moment.
Okay. Lets do this.
”First order of business… we have to find a teleporter and register the coordinates to one of our Adventurers ID. That will surely get the attention of the AGA. Now tell me, why didn we just enter the teleporter ourselves? ”
While we are here, I will use this chance to teach them a thing or two about adventuring.
”Its because we don know where the teleporter is going to teleport us to. If we got teleported to an ambush, then we are doomed. ”
Salim answered perfectly. Alisa nodded from the side.
”Are you two ready? ”
I asked the two of them. They two look ready to me, but I still have to be sure.
They nod confidently. Their eyes tells me otherwise, however.
No matter. Whether they are truly ready or not, they have no choice but to be ready.
”As we discussed, we are going to check the two doors, see whats behind them, and then decide which door to go through. Remember… Stay together. No matter what happens, do not leave the group. ”
”Yes kak! ”
”Alright. Lets go. ”
I asked Alisa to execute the Sign [Sense Entity] before we checked the door in front of us first. We opened the door slowly from the side, with our backs against the wall. After confirming that there are no traps or monster coming in, we checked whats behind the door. Its just a hallway. A plain white hallway. Its quite long and we can see the end of it.
We did the same to the other door behind us. Its the same over there. Plain white hallways with no end in sight.
”This is way more troublesome that I expected. ”
The two listened to me intently.
There were no difference at all. We ovserved the two of them for quite a while. But we noticed no difference. They are basically a copy of one another.
”With the two options not giving us any info that we can use to our advantage, we are forced to make an uneducated guess. What do you two suggest we do? ”
Salim whispered to Alisa.
”Salim said maybe we could split up? She said she could execute the Sign [Group Telepathy] so we could still communicate with one another. ”
”Have you forgotten about what I said? No splitting up. Its too dangerous. ”
”Salim said that she was just saying. If we have no other option, then splitting up is still an option. ”
”…I know. That is going to be our LAST option. ”
The two nods.
We tried closing and opening the door again. But theres no change to the hallways at all. We tried letting one of the door opened and the other closed. Still no change. We also tried looking for a hidden switch in the room. We found nothing.
After discussing it with the Salim and Alisa, we decided to enter one of the hallways and prepare for the worst. I also told them to save their magic power.
After tying our hands together, to make sure that we would not get split up, we entered the front hallway.
”Thank you for coming Master Geren. We are sorry for the sudden notice. ”
An old woman donning a priest robe welcomed the gruff looking man in front of the Cathedral along with several combat priests and priestess beside her.
”No worries, Elder Priestess. It is my job, and most importantly, my duty as the leader of Beinderas Adventurers Guild Association to deal with problems like these. Please, let me just say let us cut the pleasantries and get straight to business. With our city in this state, I am sure that neither of us have any time to waste. ”
The priestess smiled at Gerens reply warmly. However, some of her guards showed explicit disgust and anger towards his attitude towards their most beloved Elder Priestess.
”Brilliant insight, Master Geren. Let us proceed towards the center of the Cathedral. Let us escort you. ”
Geren nods and they proceeded toward the Teleporter Chamber.
The walk to the chamber was quick. No talks, just a quiet march to the target location.
His face was stern and angry, but inside, Geren actually enjoyed the silence. As although he deeply respected the Elder Priestess as a person, he cannot deal with her penchant for subterfuge via dialogues. She may have good intention with it, but Geren do not want to be bothered with the stress of having to chat while having to decipher hidden meanings and clues simultaneously. Especially not right now.
”Here we are, Master Geren. ”
They reached the Teleportation Chamber.
The room was huge. It was round with one wide walkway towards the center of the room. At the center, there hover a huge jagged round crystal with several rings orbiting around it. Its size easily dwarves Geren, who has the largest build in the entirety of Beindera. In fact, he holds the record of being the only man whose body size is five times larger than the average men of the Kingdom.
Geren approached the crystal, the teleporter, and hold out his hand. Immediately, an interface appeared with keyboards and a projected view of the globe around him. However, he was the only one who could interact and see these interface and projected sceneries.
He operated the interface for a while. The projected sceneries changing multiple times. From volcanoes, tall mountains, frigid wastelands, and lush forests, and many more views rotating in high speeds.
Geren stopped operating the interface and the view of a plain white, almost transparent, tower standing amidst an ocean of trees was projected.
”How is it, Master Geren? ”
The Elder Priestess asked calmly.
”You are correct, Elder. This is indeed a new coordinates. ”
”What will we be doing then, children? Most of our forces are currently helping with the rebuilding efforts. The Cathedral wouldn be able to organize an expedition─ ”
The Elder Priestess turned towards her guards, when Geren raised his hand and interrupted her in the middle of her speech.
”I am sorry Elder, but I believe you will not have to worry about that. Please let the priests and priestesses of the Cathedral to focus on the rebuilding efforts and let me handle this. I have already ordered free adventurers who have finished their assigned tasks to assemble on the Cathedral at once. So, please leave the matter of the expedition and threat assessments of this new coordinates to us─ The Adventurers Guild Association. ”
”That is unusual of you Geren. Is there other things that are behind the scenes that you might want to tell me? ”
The Elder Priestess laughed. Although, her eyes were telling a different story.
”Of course, yes. Actually, I just checked the ID that registered this new coordinates, and it matched the ID of our recent missing Adventurers. Specifically of an unranked new talent of ours, Salim Tariel. ”
The Elder Priestess reacted upon hearing the name.
”Little Salim? Of that Tariel household? ”
”Yes, Elder. ”
”I see… That is quite the predicament. ”
”Indeed. So I take it that you are agreeing with my proposal? ”
”Yes. Do your best, Geren. Bring the little one back home. ”
”Of course, Elder. I will give it my all. ”
With that, the Elder Priestess and her guards left the chamber. Geren soon followed and walked towards the entrance.
Sure enough, around 40 adventurers are waiting outside. Talking and chatting with one another.
One of the adventurers noticed Geren and shouted to the others.
”Everyone! The boss is here! Be quiet! ”
Soon, the noises died down. Everyone was waiting for Geren to speak.
”Eherm! Listen! You all have been called here because you have finished your assigned tasks early. For that! I extend my gratitude to you! With that said, I would like to have your help. ”
Geren signaled towards a female AGA staff and she brought him a poster.
”Pictured in this poster are three recently missing adventurers! We lost contact with them after the earthquake a week ago and today… we have luckily bumped into a clue! ”
Geren took a deep breath and flashed a confident smile.
He raised his hands up to the air and shouted with intense ferocity.
”We have found a new unknown coordinates! Thats right! A new unexplored Lost Grounds! ”
The adventurers cheered upon hearing the news. Lost Grounds, a mysterious place filled with secrets and infinite treasures. The news of a new Lost Ground comes with unknown dangers, along with the possibility of new expensive relics and treasures.
”Of course, you are free to explore and keep any treasures you find, BUT! Leave that for later! First we must find the adventurers! And of course, if they are found, everyone will be rewarded! ”
”Pak boss! How are we going to do this? Are we going to split up or explore as one big group? ”
”We will split to four teams. The A team will stand by the basecamp and guard our base of operation. Team B, C, and D will explore the Lost Ground. The poster will be distributed to every group after they are formed. So keep an eye out for the targets. And I will leave the details of the group formation to the guild staff. Now, prepare yourselves, men! Dismissed! ”
Geren left the now noisy adventurers and approached his secretary.
”Cherr. Is the Flame of Corruption party here? ”
”Yes. They responded to the call sir. However they are not currently not in full strength as one of their members are injured because of the earthquake. ”
”Ah I know. I read that in the report. Still, thanks for the reminder. Bring them to me in 10 minutes. I have a task for them. In the meantime, help the others organize the groups. ”
”Yes, sir. ”
Cherr went to help her colleagues, leaving Geren alone.
Geren took out a cigarette and lighted it up.
”Fuuh… Im so **ing tired. ”
He sat on the ground, resting on the wall. His face slackened as no one is watching him now.
”So tired… But at least Im not at the table. Im so sick of looking at papers and words, for real… ”
”Salim, RUN! ”
I pushed Salim away into the door.
”Do it Salim! Do as the leader say and run! ”
I moved forward, blocking the goblins attacks while Alisa closed the door behind us.
”Do as I taught you and register the coordinates! ”
”But I can just leave you two alone here! I also want to help! ”
”You can do anything! Your mana pool is bordering on dangerous levels! The best you can do is to go and call for help! Now go! ”
”Go, Salim! Don worry about us! Leader is strong, and Im not a small fry either! ”
”Well wait for the good news! ”
I shouted at Salim to encourage her. Alisa did the same. Not long after, we heard her shouting something along the line of ”You guys better be safe when I return with help, okay! You Idioooooots! ” as she ran with all her might.
I laughed at her reply. When in this kind of predicament, its best to keep morale high. So I laugh.
”Al, have you gotten used to the boost mechanic of that spear? ”
I asked Alisa as he countered and finished off a goblin.
”I can say Im a master at it yet kak, but I can use it competently enough. ”
”Great. Rely on it as much as you can. It doesn consume much magic power, so keep an eye out for the opportunity to use it. ”
I dodged a goblins arrow and slashed at the goblins throat thats standing in front of me.
”Well now… ”
I retreated away from the frontline and took a little breather.
Alisa kicked a goblin after he stabbed it, using it as a platform, and landed next to me.
”There are a lot of goblins here kak. ”
”No shit, you little twerp. ”
Heh. A comedy genius right here.
”Im going to go on the offensive, dek. So exploit the moment when there are gaps in the goblins formation. ”
”Yes, kak! Ill do my best! ”
I took a deep breath to ready myself.
Alright, lets do this.
I readied my sword and I dashed towards the green ocean in front of me.
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