The two men started searching Ketan’s house, but they couldn’t find where the red marble was hidden in the end.
No, more precisely, they hadn’t predicted that there would be such a thing as a secret hiding place. They had only carelessly looked at places like inside drawers and under beds.
“It’s not here.”
“Yep. Not here.”
After their search, the two men had gathered near the doorway and conversed while looking at Ketan’s corpse.
“What did I say? It’s not here.”
“Okay, I got it.”
“So where are we going now?”
“From here, the 3rd peak is closer than the 2nd peak, so let’s go to the 3rd peak first.”
“Okay. By the way, are we going to get something out of doing all of this? Celta was a famous thief after all.”
“I don’t know, but the guild master was the one who gave this quest.”
“A lot of higher-level members left before because of that crazy bastard. It’s because of that.”
And so, the two men left for the 3rd peak as they continued their conversation.
A few hours later.
Another young man appeared in front of the ruined house.
* * *
Soo Hyuk, who had arrived at the centre of the 1st peak, looked up at the massive red tree towering over him.
‘Is this the tree…’
It was definitely the tree that Romian had talked about.
‘Then head south.’
Soo Hyuk got hold his bearings and started walking south. Then a few minutes later, he stopped.
‘He does live here.’
The reason he stopped walking was because he had spotted a house in the distance.
‘There’re a lot of monsters around here, so is it okay to be so obvious?’
Although there weren’t a lot, there were still orcs wandering around on the 1st peak. Nonetheless, the house was in full view to the surroundings, with no concealment what-so-ever.
‘Are there no orcs around here?’
Ketan seemed like someone who wasn’t wary of orcs. Wrapping up his thoughts, Soo Hyuk continued to trek towards the house.
But when Soo Hyuk arrived in front of the house, he was startled at the scene before him.
“Why is the doorway broken?”
The house’s doorway had been smashed to bits, exposing its interior to the outside world.
“Did a monster attack?”
Soo Hyuk then cautiously approached the broken doorway and stepped inside the quiet house. What awaited him was an even bigger surprise.
There was a dead body lying on the floorboards.
It was then.
[The quest ‘Romain’s First Request’ has been changed.]
[The quest Romian’s Second Request’ has been changed.]
Two notifications appeared in his vision after he noticed the corpse.
When Soo Hyuk read over the notifications, his eyes widened in surprised once again. Then he quickly opened his quest window to check the changes to his quest.
[Report with haste]
Ketan was murdered by someone. Previously predicting his fate, Ketan had wrote a letter beforehand. Find the letter and bring it back to Romian!
[Romian’s Letter: 0 / 1 ]
[Ketan’s Letter: 0 / 1 ]
[Quest Reward: Romian’s mission confirmation]
His ‘Romian’s First Request’ had been changed to ‘Report with haste’, and from the quest information Soo Hyuk realised that the corpse at his feet was Ketan.
Why was he killed?
‘He looks like he was stabbed.’
Blood had crusted around his stomach where his wound was, so it seemed like he was stabbed to death. Turning his eyes away from the blood, Soo Hyuk looked back at the changed quest.
‘Do I just have to report this to Romian?’
The reward for ‘Report with haste.’, was Romian’s mission confirmation. It was the item he needed to complete this promotion mission. In other words, he just had to report this to Romian to be promoted to C-rank.
‘But it was originally a reward for the second request,’
Romian’s mission confirmation was originally a reward for the second request, but the second request hadn’t disappeared, it had merely changed. Then what was the reward for the second request now?
[The Lost Red Marble]
The red marble is hidden somewhere in Ketan’s house.
[Red Marble: 0 / 1 ]
[Quest Reward: Key to Phantom Celta’s Secret Cave]
Soo Hyuk couldn’t help but be flustered at the unexpected information.
It was because of the reward.
Celta’s Secret Cave. Soo Hyuk opened the 4th section of the quest window and checked the special quest ‘Celta’s Inheritance’, which he had gotten from the library.
[Special Quest – Celta’s Inheritance]
Celta the Phantom, the thief without bloodstains, hid his entire wealth of stealings in a secret place. Find the secret place!
[Quest Reward: ??? ]
Soo Hyuk thought as he read over the quest.
‘Does Romian know something about this?’
He would be able to acquire the key to Celta’s Secret Cave if he found the red marble. That meant that the red marble was connected to Celta in some way, and Romian would also know something about Celta.
‘I should find it.’
Soo Hyuk scanned the interior of the house. The red marble was in here somewhere, and he would obtain the key to Celta’s Secret Cave if he found it.
The secret place stated in ‘Celta’s Inheritance’, could have nothing to do with this key. After all, the secret cave might not be the secret place, but there was a high chance that they were related.
Finally, he could see a clear path in this originally vague quest. Also, even if the red marble didn’t exist, he still had to find Ketan’s letter. So, Soo Hyuk started searching the house.
Not long after he started, Soo Hyuk stopped his movements.
It was because there was a faint green light coming from a tiny crack on the wall. Drawn in by the light, Soo Hyuk approached the tiny crack.
He had barely pressed against it, but the area around the crack was pushed inside the wall. Seeing this, Soo Hyuk pushed against the wall harder, then saw it.
The red marble and the letter.
[You have acquired ‘Red Marble’.]
[You have acquired ‘Ketan’s Letter’.]
Soo Hyuk immediately stored them in his inventory and checked his quest. The quest ‘Report with Haste’ didn’t specify whether he had to deliver the letter to Romian, so he wasn’t surprised when he couldn’t see the ‘complete’ button on the quest. But, when he checked the ‘Lost Red Marble’, the ‘complete’ button was visible.
‘Looks like I don’t need to go to Romian to complete the second quest.’
Soo Hyuk quickly pressed ‘complete’ with this thought.
[You have completed the quest ‘Lost Red Marble’.]
[You have acquired ‘Key to Phantom Celta’s Secret Cave’.]
Soo Hyuk checked the information for the key when he read the notifications.
[<Heroic> Key to Phantom Celta’s Secret Cave]
A key that can open Celta’s Secret Cave.
‘Hmm, it doesn’t say where the cave is.’
He had hoped for the location of Celta’s Secret Cave, but a maybe was a maybe. There was no information or clues on the location.
‘I can’t just bring it up…’
There was a high chance that Romian would have some information on Celta, but with what had happened to Ketan, it didn’t seem like a good idea. If he did, he could leave a bad impression and Romian would also get suspicious.
‘Okay, I’ll casually ask while giving him the red marble.’
Deciding on his strategy, Soo Hyuk opened his mouth.
[Warping to Archmage’s Subspace.]
Now, it was time to report to Romian.
[You have completed the quest ‘Report with Haste’.]
First, he gave the letter to Romian and finished his quest.
‘Now I just have to get the confirmation…’
Soo Hyuk was still waiting for Romian’s confirmation, but he couldn’t bring himself to ask, since Romian was reading Ketan’s Letter with crushing intensity.
‘I’ll just wait for him to finish reading.’
Deciding to ask after Romian finishes reading the letter, Soo Hyuk patiently waited while staring at Romian.
Romian was completely silent as he read the letter. Meanwhile, his eyes were switching back and forth between blank absentmindedness, extreme focus and heavy sadness.
If you’re reading this letter, then that must mean I died somehow. Maybe from the cave’s traps or maybe from murder.
Murder was probably more likely. The red marble, the key to Celta’s cave. It’s too much for us to handle, a much bigger scale then our small world.
After finishing the letter, Romian looked up at Soo Hyuk. As their eyes met, he thought,
‘He’s not it.’
Soo Hyuk wasn’t the one who killed Ketan. What did he know originally to kill Ketan? Also, if he had killed him, then he wouldn’t have brought this letter back.
‘Then who is it?’
Who killed Ketan? There weren’t many people that knew of Ketan’s hut on the 1st peak in the first place. There couldn’t be more than 10 people.
‘First, I have to notify them.’
The 2nd peak, 5th peak and the 7th peak. He had comrades in those 3 peaks. Ketan was murdered, and it was possible that the murderer wouldn’t end there. His comrades could be in danger, so he had to quickly warn them.
“Have you also seen a marble? It’s red…”
Romian asked Soo Hyuk. Of course, there was a high possibility that Ketan’s murderers had taken the marble, but it wasn’t certain.
“Ah, yes. I have it here.”
Soo Hyuk opened his inventory as he replied to Romian. He had already obtained the key from the quest rewards, so there was no need for the red marble anymore. Soo Hyuk took out the red marble from his inventory and held it out to Romian.
Soo Hyuk widened his eyes in surprise when he pulled out red marble.
When he first saw it in Ketan’s hut, it had been gently spewing a strange light. But now, it’s smooth surface was a dull red with no light.
‘It is because I completed the quest?’
While wondering if the glow disappeared because he completed his quest, Soo Hyuk handed the marble to Romian. Opposite of him, Romian was silently staring the marble. He then snapped back to reality after a few seconds and received the marble.
“Um, could you please wait a moment?’
At Soo Hyuk’s reply, Romian walked over to his desk and opened a drawer. Then after storing the letter and the marble, he took out a scroll and returned to his seat.
“This is the mission confirmation. Thank you for your service.”
[You have acquired ‘Romian’s Mission Confirmation’.]
Soo Hyuk received the scroll and bowed to say goodbye and head out of Romian’s room.
‘I couldn’t ask in the end.’
He couldn’t find the chance to ask about the marble.
‘Well, I’m sure I can ask again on another day.’
It didn’t have to be about Celta or the Secret Cave; Romian’s identity was enough. And so, Soo Hyuk started heading back to the agency with a light skip in his steps.