The 17th squad of the strike force has not returned.
After receiving disturbing news, Alba gathered the captains of the returning small fry mob-hunting squads in front of the castle gate to check on them.
“Who last saw them?”
“Me. I didn’t think they would dare, but from the looks of it, they probably went to the tunnel…”
“Tunnel? Did they ignore the agreement they made with Wataru?”
“Wait, let’s discuss that agreement matter later. The safety of these people is our top priority right now.”
Alba calms down the furious captain.
The team returns to the city at 16:00 every day, and the captain makes a report and disbands the team. But this time, part of the team had not yet returned.
It was a team of six people who had entered the Iriana Tunnel without permission, but no one here knew of their whereabouts.
(I had warned them not to go into the tunnels because of the PK incident before…)
Scrolling through the list of guild members from the guild management screen, Alba saw that the names of the six members of Unit 17 were blacked out.
White is the sign that they were logged in.
And if they are logged out, it will turn to black.
Logged out in a death game means… death.
Alba curses himself for his naivety.
If you have been to the tunnels, you will know that they are large and complex enough that they cannot be easily conquered, even if the difficulty of dying is low enough to make it looks easy.
Even Alba who had a good safety margin, was planning to be fully prepared for the situation where he needed to fend off loads of mobs should he go inside Iriana Tunnel. And now he was wondering if he should consult Wataru and other guild executive for their opinion.
“They entered the tunnels, didn’t they? Then they were killed by the black dog.”
A man appeared out of nowhere, and his simple words caused a stir among the others.
Alba then crossed his arms while looking concerned.
“Kid, you shouldn’t assume, you will put other captains to be anxious.”
“This is not an assumption. I know so.”
Alba had the feeling that what he had feared had occurred.
Kid lost his friends in the mine and was mortally wounded himself. He later recovered and joined the Monshou Guild because he wanted return the favor.
Both Wataru and Alba allowed it because currently, they need someone who is a little better at fighting.
Even with this in mind, Alba felt it was a risk to leave him behind; despite the fact that he had been assigned as a combat instructor who did not go out into the field as a precaution, the cloudy eyes Kid displayed from time to time bothered him. Alba was extremely concerned about this.
It was a coincidence that he was here, but when he heard that the guild member had not returned, Alba knew that Kid’s mind would be filled with revenge for that Player Killer.
“Hey, is there no one who wants to avenge them? Let’s go, we will kill some PKs.”
“Wait a minute. Even if it was PK’s murder, we can’t move on our own. We have to make a preparation before we go.”
“If we waste time doing that, he will get away with it!”
Kid is adamant about it. Kid’s argument is incoherent and devoid of context or basis to anyone who is familiar with the risk and situation, but to the uninformed, Kid only appears to want to avenge his friends right now, and Alba is attempting to persuade him to let go of his revenge.
Indeed, some of the people present have already lost friends and comrades. As a result, some of them were put off by Alba’s seemingly cold attitude.
And to make it worse, some of the noncombatants in the gallery were saying irresponsible things like, “Why won’t he just let them go?”
“We can’t say for sure that it was a PK attack at this point. And even if it was the same PKs who attacked Kid and the others, they may have a detailed understanding of the intricate tunnel pathways. We would not be able to carelessly form a assault team when they have the advantage of the terrain.”
His words caused a stir in the surrounding area.
Alba was right, but he was too calm, while some of his audience were already emotionally stressed.
“If we don’t take down the black dog the PK, the number of casualties will only increase, right? Or the sub-master of the Monshou is scared of PK?”
“What a foolish thing to say….”
At this point, Alba was convinced that it was theoretically impossible to appease him. Kid has already convinced himself that the incident was also caused by PKs, and those around him agree with his heroic actions.
Even if the 17th had entered the mine and been killed by PK, there was no way they would let Kid and his sympathizers go. But what could they do? Everyone is too riled up at this point.
“PK is a murderer, right? Don’t let him get away with it.”
The voice came from the noncombatants.
Many of them shamelessly and truly believe that they deserve to have their personal safety protected by a Monshou guild.
There was no malice in their words, and it could be said that was only a characteristic of the modern Japanese came out in a bad way.
“Are there murderers?”
“I’m terrified of such a thing.”
“Death to the murderer!”
“If they’re nearby, I won’t be able to sleep due to anxiety.”
The emotion of the people was palpable.
And before Alba could act, one of the players was pissed off by the noncombatants who were shouting in the background.
“How can you people who do nothing but stay indoors, tell us who is fighting for our lives while you sleep? Why should we risk our lives for people who don’t fight and don’t make any money but only give us orders?”
The members who were exhausted from the daily patrols and late-night watches voiced their dissatisfaction at the noncombatants who simply stayed indoors.
Members of the Monshou Guild were people who were impressed by Wataru and Alba and had joined the guild for their cause, but they were now dissatisfied with the noncombatants who did not care about the two’s noble intentions and took their protection for granted.
Just before the commotion escalated, Alba thrust the great sword on his back into the ground.
The commotion around them suddenly came to a stop, and silence fell.
“You, can you come closer?”
Alba called out to a noncombatant man who had been asking questions before.
The nominated man looks anxious but steps forward fearfully, assuring himself that he is making the right point.
“Some people have said that they cannot sleep because they are worried about the presence of PKs, but I will demonstrate here and now that this city is safe.”
Alba then quickly took the man’s arm, put the sword into his hand, and thrust it into his own neck.
It happened so fast that the gallery around him screamed before they could take a good look.
And just as the sword was about to strike Alba’s neck, a polygon disordered like a mosaic showed [system block] appeared.
“PK acts within the city are protected by the system. In other words, as long as you stay within the walls of Aristolas, you don’t have to worry about being attacked by players or mobs.”
Thanking him for his cooperation, Alba released the man.
The man, who had been stunned for a while, ran out at once with a face drawn with humiliation and shame.
Nevertheless, to those who noticed, Alba’s explanation was actually inadequate. Because once the castle gates were destroyed by the invasion, the safety system block function would be lost.
However, there is no need to add such information now, and in fact, many people were convinced from the bottom of their hearts by the demonstration Alba just showed.
Alba then looked at Kid, and he put out a certain map.
The map was like an ant’s nest or a maze, a series of intricate paths. There is a red line connecting the shortest distance from the entrance to the exit was added to the map.
“This is a map of all the paths in the Iriana Tunnel that I purchased from an informant during the Beta era. It will give you an idea of how intricate the tunnels are and how difficult and dangerous it would be to fight an ambush.”
The members of the group who had been following Kid’s lead began to say things like, “If we go into a place like this without a plan, we’re sure to get lost,” and Kid was unable to say anything.
As the situation began to come to a close, Alba resisted the urge to sigh and watched the galleries scatter.
(I’m almost at the end of my rope, huh?)
Everyone was becoming increasingly agitated, even over trivial matters.
The fear of an invasion that could occur at any time, combined with daily stress, could make Kid revolt at any time. But Alba still has hope of breaking through this chaos; all they need is for that one person to find the talent they seek.
(Would you please hurry up?)
Under the setting sun, Alba awaited the good news from his comrade.
* * * *
Misaki had encountered an [invisible] target.
The request from the client was to find a lost artifact – in other words, to search for an inorganic object.
(When I’m looking for a dog, it’s indicated by a green dot on my map; when I’m looking for a person, it’s the same, but my unique skills don’t seem to be effective when looking for artifacts.)
Let’s rewind the time a bit when Misaki met someone at the Adventurer’s Guild.
“Ah! So you are a bowman too.”
“Really! What a coincidence!”
Misaki was waiting in line at the reception desk to receive her reward when she was approached by a male player with a large bow on his back.
Misaki enjoyed the conversation with the man for the entire waiting time, feeling that [it had been a long time since she had had a proper conversation] with people.
He, too, was a player in a similar situation as Misaki, he had started taking quests in order to ease the burden on the Monshou guild, and he happened to be a bowman as well.
He had completed several search quests, but he could not see his targets on the minimap as Misaki did.
The difference between him and Misaki was the [unique skill].
“You shouldn’t be so careless about sharing your unique skills with others.”
Was a bit of advice he told Misaki as they parted ways.
Because unique skills can be considered a secret weapon or special move, Misaki decided not to reveal her abilities before anyone else after listening to that man’s advice.
She would wait until no one was around before entering the menu screen and checking her unique skill – [Life Sense] was hers.
And let’s go back to the back to the back alley.
And now Misaki is convinced as she catches the target cat.
(With this, I can specialize in myself searching-type quest, which also means I can become self-sufficient by accepting every request from the Adventurers’ Guild that involves a living creature as the target of the search!)
Misaki’s financial future is now secure, and she hums to herself as she strokes the cat.