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62 Cross Haven

 Izroth carefully avoided the monsters inside of the «Towering Oak Forest». He planned on saving the temporary skill «Equalizer» when he arrived at the « Sea Palace Graveyard» in order to maximize its usefulness.

After traveling twenty minutes south at top speed, Izroth arrived at the other side of the «Towering Oak Forest». Thanks to the «Five Cycles Pill», it allowed him to navigate through the forest avoiding monsters or hidden dangers along the way.

The first thing that came into view was the vast amount of sand that stretched as far as he could see. The strange thing about this sight was the lack of heat normally found in a desert as well as the abrupt change in environment.

'Strange.'

The coordinates showed that the «Dungeon: Sea Palace Graveyard» was around 5 minutes east from his current location. But even with how great his vision was, Izroth could not see an entryway into the dungeon.

He continued in the direction of the coordinates listed on the Exploration Logs. A little less than five minutes later, Izroth came to the edge of a sand dune. At the bottom of the dune, sand constantly swirled around and began sinking into the earth itself similarly like quicksand.

A frown found its way onto Izroth's face as he checked the coordinates again, making sure that this was the correct location.

'These are the exact coordinates.'

He began to examine the surroundings of the sand dune, as well as the bottom area of the sand dune.

There really was no entrance around this place, no matter how thoroughly he checked.

'Eliminate all other factors and the one that remains must be the truth.'

This was the correct location and there was only one thing that seemed to be an entrance.

Izroth stared at the swirling sand at the bottom of the sand dune, which was constantly sinking into the earth. He then slid down the sand dune and fell right into the sinking sand and soon after disappearing from sight.

...

〈System Alert: You have entered the «Ruins of Kashysh»〉

When Izroth fell through the sinking sand, he traveled for around 20 seconds on a path that felt as though it were going straight down. After finally coming to a halt, everything around him changed.

'I suppose that explains why I could not see a dungeon entry before as it was located underground. Well, it's more preferable to being underwater at the very least.'

While Izroth entered the Ruins of Kashysh, he had not yet entered into the dungeon as the ruins were only a precursor to the dungeon itself. In the distance, he spotted a circular gateway with strange unknown symbols lit up in a light blue color.

The surrounding buildings appeared to be from an ancient civilization that met with some kind of disaster as everything was in ruins. However, with a single glance, anyone would be able to tell that this civilization was quite advanced for its time.

When Izroth stepped forward, his foot knocked into something laying on the ground. Held in his hand was a mermaid figurine made similarly out of stone. However, the object was still badly damaged as it was missing a few chunks of the figure itself as if someone threw the object in a rush to run away from the disaster that struck this civilization as well as surviving the decay of time.

Over twenty-four players stood near the gateway patrolling the gateway as one of them entered inside of the circular gateway, flashing with a brilliant light. When the light dimmed down, the player had vanished into thin air.

'That has to be the entrance into the «Dungeon: Sea Palace Graveyard».'

Izroth took a brief period of time to observe the players near the gateway. Even though there were originally twenty-four players there, only eighteen of the players went inside. The other six players were guarding the dungeon entrance preventing others from entering.

"Why do we have to be the first group in guard duty? It should've been Jonah's group that goes in last on the rotation." One of the players guarding the entrance of the gateway was dissatisfied with their current circumstances.

"It can't be helped since one of their members were amongst the first to discover the dungeon. If it hadn't been, then they would've been last in the rotation as always." His partner said as he was more understanding of the situation, unlike his guildmate.

"Well, it's not like they were really first or anything. The main guild members were a part of the first wave anyways. We're fortunate to have met some of the core members while doing this so it isn't all bad."

He felt that it was not a bad trade off, staying guard in order to meet some higher ranked guild members they may not ever have the chance to meet personally.

"You know, I heard that there's a hidden boss inside with an insanely low spawn rate. In fact, only the guild leader's group who made the first run came across it. Get this, it's a rare boss!" One of the party members who remained silent suddenly spoke up trying to join in on the conversation.

"Are you kidding me? That has to be a lie. Between all the groups, this place has already been run over 100 times - so even if we combine them all together what you mean to tell me it only appeared once? It's probably just some guild members starting rumors." She scoffed at the ignorance of her fellow guild member for buying into that ridiculous rumor.

Izroth had been listening on their conversation long enough as he walked towards the circular gateway. Every second he wasted standing around and waiting was another moment top players were leveling up; he'd been idle long enough.

As Izroth was approaching the gateway, the six players who were guarding nearby became alert. However, their guard was lowered as they saw that it was just one person. If possible, they would rather not run into a troublesome group while it was their turn to stand watch.

"You'll have to stop right there. This dungeon is currently under the ownership of «Cross Haven» so your journey here has been wasted." said the male with the appearance of an eighteen-year-old and slicked backed hair and the display name of Arctim.

He presented himself as the leader of the party as he was the first to speak out when he saw Izroth approaching. While this was not the first time that people ventured down here, it was the first time that someone appeared traveled solo.

"The exit is over that way. It won't take you back to where you came from, however, if you got to this place in one piece then you shouldn't be in any danger when you exit out."

Arctim said as he pointed towards a gateway located on the other side of the room. Its shape was almost exactly like the circular gateway that led into the dungeon.

Izroth frowned inwardly when he heard them speak. He'd already expected something like this to happen based on the words they spoke and seeing them be the sole group to stay behind. But, someone deciding that an entire dungeon belonged solely to their group was quite ridiculous.

Most top guilds went by a certain silent code - as long as the prize wasn't too valuable, they would give each other some face and let the finder benefit for a set period of time.

This certainly did not include things like world bosses, mining sites, or locations where valuable herbs grew as top guilds would plot and manipulate to obtain such benefits. However, conditions for an early dungeon were different in which as long as the first clear was claimed by the guild, that same guild would have control over it for a period of time.

This was a silent agreement that all the top guilds had with one another while also restricting casual players as they were excluded from having a say in such a manner. If such players forced their way in, they should be prepared for the consequences of such actions.

"Last time I remembered, dungeons were for all players and not just a specific group of people. If I want to enter into this dungeon it's a right I have and you don't have the power to revoke." Izroth was already here, so why would he give up and leave after traveling all this way?

Arctim facial expression grew dark when he heard those words. He was trying to be polite, but this player talked to him as if he didn't take the name «Cross Haven» to heart and completely ignored his kindness.

«Cross Haven» is one of the most powerful groups in the MMORPG community. Needless to say, all of that power naturally transferred over to RML. This was something of common knowledge to nearly anyone who plays MMORPG's.

"Since you don't want to listen when I tried to be reasonable then don't blame us. We're just following orders." Arctim nodded his head at his fellow party members and they all drew their weapons getting ready to attack Izroth.

Even if he was just one player, they did not know his strength or abilities. It was always better to play it safe, especially since there was a penalty for death. They were not leaving anything to chance.

Izroth narrowed his eyes as his hand rested on the hilt of the «Blade of Lightning» placed upon his back. If they wanted to respond with force, then he would not hesitate to fight back. Besides, this might be a good time to test out the Lightning Field skill attached to the Blade of Lightning.

Just as the group was about to make their move, the gateway behind the lit up in light as a party of six players exited from within. When one of the players looked over and saw Izroth and then the group of six players about to attack, their face immediately darkened.

"Stop!" A furious voice sounded from inside of the gateway as a player jumped down from it. The player who jumped down from the gateway was a young boy, or at least his appearance was as such.

The young man was so short that he would often be mistaken for a child. His hair was dark red, while his crimson red eyes possessed irises resembling that of a ferocious tiger. This young man's name was Wess and he was one of the Lieutenants of the guild «Cross Haven».

The six members standing guard were all startled by the sudden arrival of Wess as well as him shouting, but a smile appeared on all of their faces. Now that Wess was here, this situation was as good as dealt with and they wouldn't need to lift a finger. However what occurred next was beyond their expectations.

"Are you all incapable of following simple instructions?! Put your weapons away!" Wess glared at the group of six.

All six of them were dumbfounded, but they listened to his orders and put their weapons away. When did they not follow instructions? They were just guarding the gateway as per their instructions and now they were being scolded? Life truly is unfair!

Izroth furrowed his brows as he observed the events unfolding before him and not understanding what was going on.

Wess then looked towards Izroth was a smile formed on his face. He seemed to behave in a friendly manner when it came to Izroth.

This person was someone that caught Ewan's eye, so it was best to maintain a friendly relationship. There were not many people aware of this fact within «Cross Haven», but this player before him may eventually join their guild.

While «Cross Haven» did not lack talented players, RML was a different breed of a game compared to the classic MMORPG's. Ewan was planning for the future of RML and what would eventually become the main focus for all of the top guilds.

"It" would be something that separated the strong from the weak as Ewan was preparing ahead of time for when it became a reality.

Wess understood that there was a reason for every action Ewan took, therefore, when he viewed members of their own guild getting ready to fight against Izroth, he couldn't help but become upset. Though, a simple scolding was sufficient since he knew that the group was just following their orders.

"I am Wess, a Lieutenant of the guild «Cross Haven». You'll have to excuse the behavior of my guild members." Although Wess was smiling and acted friendly, his gaze resembled that of a ferocious tiger and he was attempting to see through Izroth, but to his amazement, he was unable to.

Izroth removed his hand from the hilt of his «Blade of Lightning». He was a bit disappointed that was currently unable to test the «Lightning Field» skill, however, there was always another time. What confused Izroth more than anything was how friendly Wess was acting.

'He doesn't appear to be up to something but...'

Izroth did not detect any ill intentions from Wess, however, the way Wess was sizing him up did not go unnoticed.