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Chapter 193

Hard Carry Support

Chapter 193 - Where's Louise? (1)

 

Fire, wind, lightning, and ice…

The Elemental Berserker had four skill trees, so he was curious about which element she'd choose.

「It's late. Aren't you going to sleep?」

Hyun realized Ain hadn't logged off while he read the status window. It was very late.

「I want to sleep.」

「Yes. See you tomorrow.」

「Hyun, you too. Go to sleep.」

['Ain' has logged off!]

With the log-out message, silence came.

Ain usually wasn’t online from three in the morning to five.

A few weeks prior, no, five years prior in the game's time, he had played with Louise during those hours. Not being able to do that, he spent most of the time alone. 

He did things like organizing his inventory, searching for quests, scouting the item market, etc… basically, he did the mundane things.

He also practiced alone or burned time in the Duel Arena.

Those past few days, he used «Pray» to check on Louise.

Shouldn't she have come searching for him already?

There's no way Louise hadn't heard that 'users' had begun appearing again, yet there was no news from her.

Did something happen like on Iluna?

Maybe she was too busy at the moment.

She said not to trust anyone in the letter. Why had she said something like that?

Hyun used «Pray» from time to time while worrying over such thoughts.

'I'm not sure.'

Was it because her Empathy was restricted, or was it because there was too much distance? He couldn't feel her emotions as clearly as before, and it wasn't that her personality had changed.

Those past few days, although it was weak, Hyun could feel slight but intense emotions.

Those emotions didn't seem to belong to the girl who had a lot of fear, but they felt similar to those that appeared when Louise made up her mind about something.

Even then, Louise was probably fighting for something.

'If it's similar to the story of the previous game…'

Hyun looked at the sky.

There were hundreds, no, thousands of islands floating in the skies.

Five years before, Darkness's heart went over the clouds and reached the territory of the Heavenly Beings.

Considering that the episode of Darkness started from that point, Louise would probably be on one of the thousands of islands floating in the skies.

She'd probably restricted her Empathy to hide from the Heavenly Beings.

'If that's the case, I guess finding her will be harder than before.'

Iluna was a place you could go to by spending money, but the land of the Heavenly Beings wasn't like that.

A normal human wouldn't be able to step foot inside most of the places there.

He would probably be barred from entry, even with his Heavenly Being title.

In reality, he and Ain lacked strength compared to the Heavenly Beings, and there was no way to overcome the rank among Heavenly Beings.

The fact they were users was probably going to hinder them.

'Should I use this?'

Louise's necklace…

If there was still 'Demonic Energy' left inside this item, he could use the 'Demonic Energy Crystal' to find Louise's location.

'No. This time, it's going to be hard.'

Hyun shook his head after thinking about it for a while.

The thousands of islands that floated in the sky above the clouds moved about quickly.

They could reach the other side of Asra in just a few hours, so pinpointing her location at just a single moment was pointless.

'I'll just have to wait, like the letter says, until Louise comes to find me.'

One day, they would meet again.

He had no other choice but to think positively like that.

Hyun decided to focus on leveling up for the time being.

Ten more days passed.

Hyun and Ain’s levels equaled out, and each went up another five levels.

Hyun thought about hunting a hidden named, but he decided not to.

Finding a hidden named that was above level 100 would take them a few days. Not only that, but their spawn rate was quite random.

Rather than using a strategy with a random component, he decided to pick a definite one.

'I'm going to get to level 200 and increase the proficiency rate of «Angel's Sword Art».’

There was some interesting news during those 10 days.

Lattice's name had suddenly disappeared from the Hall of Fame, and the forever-2nd-place, Mayday, became ranked 1st for the first time.

There were a few people that mentioned seeing him, so it seemed like he hadn't deleted his ID.

'Is he doing a secret quest?'

If you deleted your name from the Hall of Fame, your popularity among NPCs diminished.

Ain's name was being forgotten among Empire NPCs because of that.

In most cases, having recognition was better, but there were some quests you could only do by having a low recognition, so Hyun thought that Lattice probably had such a reason.

There was also another piece of news…

The Darkness Guild announced that they were going to recruit a thousand guild members.

Darkness had 500 members when they announced that, so that meant they were going to triple their numbers.

There was no need to say that users from around the world gathered to do the Darkness Guild entrance test.

'To think that they can control such an amount of people.'

Hyun felt a bit wary after reading that news.

The size of their guild was something one couldn't have imagined during the Asra times. Hyun began thinking about how he would do if he had to fight against them in the future.

'Maybe I should start building my forces.'

While they were spending the day following his plans…

'Hmm?'

Hyun visited the Knight's Road with Ain for the first time in a very long time to increase the proficiency rate of «Angel's Basic Sword Art».

Hyun's eyes widened.

"Huh…?"

Unlike in normal cities, on the Knight's Road, big posters were posted with requests throughout the road, and among them, there was a face Hyun was familiar with.

The Empire was offering compensation for someone.

[White Witch]

「(Picture)」

「This person infiltrated Hartia Temple… X year X month X day, killed two people in the Sentinel River and escaped… Last seen X year X month, X day.」

「She controls an evil Demonic Energy wind, so you should be careful.」

[Reward: 22500 gold]

"Wait… don't tell me?"

"Hyun. Isn't that Louise?!" Ain shouted in surprise.

The wanted sign and the picture in the letter overlapped within Hyun’s head.

It wasn't just the face that was similar.

"So it's Louise!"

It said that the witch that was in the wanted sign controlled a Demonic Energy wind.

«Black Wind»… It was probably talking about Louise's main skill!

"Hyun, you said she would probably be in the land of Heavenly Beings"

"That's what I thought, but what happened?!"

Ain realized something and shouted.

"Huh? Check out the ‘last seen’ date!"

"A week ago…? It hasn't been long!"

Hyun felt as if he'd been hit with a hammer.

It had been two weeks since the patch ended.

The incidents described in the wanted sign had happened a week prior. Basically, it was after he and the other users had returned to Asrian.

He felt that Louise was fighting against something when he used «Pray», which was why Hyun thought that she was probably fighting somewhere in the sky like it had been in Asra, but that guess was completely wrong.

"Louise… Do you think she's still in the Empire?"

"I'm not sure, but she definitely isn't in the sky!"

Hyun realized that history had changed once more.

Asrian's history flowed in a similar way to Asra's, but there were some differences like that one.

"Why hasn't she come to see us? If she isn't in the territory of the Heavenly Beings, she should have some space to do that."

"How should I know?"

It was just as Ain said.

It had been two weeks since he'd read Louise's letter that told him to wait for her.

Did he have to go and search for her, or was he supposed to wait like the message told him to?

Ting-! Hyun was thinking that when he suddenly received a message.

"Huh… A quest!"

There were some quests in Asrian that activated when you became aware of something.

After getting out of Darkness's land, Hyun received the Main Quest again.

"I got it as well!"

"What?"

"Look! Isn't this the same one that you received? It even says ‘Main Quest’."

For some reason, Ain received the quest as well.

 

* * *

 

That night, in the private room…

Hyun thought about what had happened.

'To think that I would suddenly get the Main Quest.'

His goal had been to reach level 200 and increase the proficiency rate of «Angel's Basic Sword Art», but it seemed like he'd have to change plans.

The Main Quest, which didn't interfere with history, had a secret 'time limit.'

If he didn't do anything, the quest could end up failing on its own—he’d learned that from previous experience.

'I'll have to do this first.'

The reward of a Main Quest far exceeded those of a normal quest.

Even if it weren't for the rewards, Hyun wanted to meet up with Louise quickly.

He realized her state wasn't good after he used «Pray». 

Hyun once again read the description of the Main Quest.

[Main Quest: Reunion with Louise]

- If Darkness doesn't come searching for you, you should go and find her.

- Finding one of her underlings first might be one way.

- You'll probably understand her intentions as you search for her.

The goal of the quest was to find Louise. Hyun thought about the last part of the quest.

Louise's intentions… What could her intentions be?

Seeing that she hadn't gone to the private room, was sealing her Empathy part of her plan?

There was a sentence that said not to trust anyone in the letter she had left.

'Maybe there's a spy or a traitor in the Abyss's forces.'

Maybe she'd sealed her Empathy to stop information from leaking.

Hyun thought of numerous possibilities but couldn't find an answer.

'I won't know the answer until I meet her. I'll have to find and ask her in person.'

He had to figure out a way to find Louise first.

The Empire was big. If he had to compare it to Earth landmarks, it would be around half the size of Asia.

His first strategy was the same one he had used on Iluna.

The necklace Louise had used for a long time had her unique, characteristic Demonic Energy.

Thanks to that necklace, he would probably be able to use the 'Demonic Energy Crystal' to figure out her location.

'If I could use the Demonic Energy Crystal again…'

Infiltrating the Abyss Repository was a quest that appeared in the History Quests, but a few users that were interested in the quest had reported that it wasn't possible to reach the Abyss Repository using the same strategy as before.

Thanks to that, Hyun realized that the location of the Abyss Repository had changed.

'No, it isn't going to be as easy as before. The security has probably become tighter.'

It was obvious.

The Dukes weren't stupid enough not to do anything after realizing someone had infiltrated.

'Yes. I'm going to ask a Duke.'

Rather than the strategy he thought of, Hyun decided to focus on the quest's description.

Until then, he'd never been harmed from following a quest's description.

- Finding one of her underlings first might be one way.

Wasn't that an indication that he should search for a 'Duke'?

It had been five years since the ceremony, so most Dukes like Bahmir or Scothanatos had realized that Louise was 'Darkness.'

Since they were Dukes that served Darkness, they were probably aware of her location!

That's right… Hyun decided to ask a Duke about Louise's location. 

'I hope it isn't dangerous.'

Hyun was thinking about what was written in the letter.

Louise had said not to trust anyone except Ain, and maybe that 'no one' included the Dukes that served Darkness.

Hyun thought that he should be careful when he talked to a Duke.

'Okay, I'll have to ask TarrTarr!'

It was early in the morning inside the private room.

Hyun realized TarrTarr was online after he checked the guild’s status window.

It was four in the morning. Why wasn't he sleeping? He wondered about it for a bit but decided to send a whisper after realizing it was due to a timezone difference.

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