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246 A Dark Road Ahead

 Located in the near distance was an entrance grave made out large stones stacked together to form an entryway. Inscribed on the stones were various magic symbols that released a violet hue. As for the stones themselves, they were deep sea blue in color and looked incredibly sturdy.

Although one could see down into the entrance grave, from an outside perspective, all one would see is an eternal abyss of boundless darkness. Even when Luna cast Illuminate, it did not reveal that which lied beyond the darkness. At the moment, Izroth and his party stood before that abyss.

"Is it just me or did it suddenly become really cold?" Halls said as he shivered slightly.

"It's probably safe to assume that this area has a large concentration of undead or specter type monsters. It's not uncommon for areas like this to exhibit a sudden drop in temperature due to the lack of life and dark energy lingering around within the atmosphere." Zi Yi explained.

"You even know this?" Halls said in a tone of disbelief.

"It's nothing impressive, just common sense once you understand the basics of certain things. It's available in the palace library which you should also have access to. You should read a little more." Zi Yi stated.

"I have to say that I'm quite envious of your entire party's free access to the library within Amaharpe Palace. It would not be an understatement to say that you are one of the few, if not the only, players with access to such valuable information." Mariposa said as she released a small sigh.

If Sleeping Gardenia had free access to the palace library then there was no telling what they would be capable of discovering. Hidden alchemy formulas, the location of rare materials, secret quest, the location of undiscovered dungeons or territories, the possibilities were endless!

"Brother, why not give her your access since your mind simply wasn't designed to handle that amount of delicate information." Guan Yu said as he playfully put his arms around Halls in a brotherly manner.

"You call yourself my brother and insult me in the same sentence? Why not give her yours? You avoid any libraries like a plague. Should I remind you of the story you told me back at the-" Halls was speaking, however, he was quickly cut off by Guan Yu.

"Brother, come now, we're all friends here! No need to bring up past matters! I was wrong, okay?" Guan Yu said as he backed away and took on an overexaggerated apologetic demeanor.

Halls could only burst out laughing at Guan Yu's overreaction.

Zi Yi, on the other hand, shook her head as she watched their carefree and unworried behavior. They were about to enter into a potentially dangerous area and could still fool around.

"While it's true that the palace library access if wasted on both of you, unfortunately, it's not as simple as giving your access to other people. So even if you wanted to get rid of it, you're stuck with it forever." Zi Yi commented.

After exchanging words for a couple of minutes, Zi Yi finally asked the question that had been on her mind ever since they ran into Aelaza and Grim in the Roaming Village of the Netherworld.

"Izroth, Luna- How well do you two know this Azalea Wraith? Wraith, Ghost, Phantom... I doubt it's just a mere coincidence." Zi Yi said. It was Azalea who gave them the Realm Chart and warned them about the village being near the Netherworld Mist, however, she failed to mention anything about her own sister or Grim!

Even if the chances of them running into each other was miniscule at best due to how the village shifted around, they should have still been informed that it was a possibility. Also, it was not as if Azalea was a complete stranger to this place based on the words of Aelaza and Grim. Therefore, what exactly was her relationship with the League of the Eidolon and this place in particular?

Luna took a moment to think to herself as she then said, "Azalea keeps to herself, however, she seems like a very passionate and loyal person, even if she comes off as distant and cold. Although she's the stubborn type, she isn't a close-minded individual as far as I can tell."

She then continued, "But, we have only journeyed together once for a brief period of time, therefore, I'm afraid you can't rely on this description too much."

"Your description is accurate. I do not believe Azalea has any ill intentions, but that's not to say that she does not have a hidden motive. But, even though your description was correct, you missed one important thing that cannot be overlooked." Izroth said in a carefree manner.

"Hm?" Luna was curious as to what she missed. Luna thought that she already pointed out all of the critical things that stood out, but apparently, she was missing a key piece.

"Fear." Izroth said as he stepped into the seemingly endless abyss before him. When he first met Azalea, Izroth did not bring it up but could tell that buried deep beneath that unyielding determination was one thing, fear.

"Fear..?" Luna and Zi Yi muttered at the same time.

Not too long after Izroth stepped into the darkness, everyone else entered into the entrance grave as well.

...

Meanwhile, somewhere in the real world...

In a dark room where only a bit of light managed to peek inside, a petite girl around 140cm with long flowing black hair spread out was lying on a bed with a virtual reality headset placed upon her head. This girl bore a striking resemblance to Azalea Wraith.

A few seconds later, a person stepped from out of the dark corner of the room. However, only her eyes and the top part of her face was visible. But, what stood out the most was her orchid color eyes that shone even within the darkness.

As she stepped out of the corner, one could see a glimmer of light flash near where her hand was located. The light peeking into the room reflected off the metallic-like alloy. It was a dagger.

As she approached the side of the bed and looked down at the girl with the virtual reality headset, a cold look flashed through her eyes. For a brief moment, there was no emotion, no mercy, just nothing but pure and unfiltered hatred.

If one looked closely at the silhouette of the figure as they reached the side of the bed, they could see that it was identical to the girl lying down on the bed.

Woosh!

All of a sudden, the figure standing next to the bed stabbed down with the dagger right towards the head of the defenseless girl with the virtual reality headset.

Once the dagger landed, there was an eerie silence that filled the room. However, the dagger had not pierced through the head of its target, instead, it barely missed by a few centimeters and stabbed through the bedding.

There was a painful look that flashed through the eyes of the assailant. The moment she pulled back the dagger, she realized that her hands were shaking uncontrollably. She threw the dagger on the floor and immediately covered her face with her trembling hands.

"This is already the fifth time you've failed." A deep voice spoke from one of the dark corners in the room. The voice belonged to a man, however, one could only hear his voice and not see his actual appearance.

"Yes..." The girl removed her hands from her face and clenched her fists together tightly. She now had a calm and emotionless look on her face and the previous painful expression was no longer there.

"I've allowed you and your sister to indulge yourselves in this children's game because you believed that it would help you get over your weakness. I can see that I was mistaken. Perhaps I should reconsider my previous decision." The man said with glaring disappointment present in his voice.

"I can do it. I just need a bit more time." The girl spoke in a low voice.

"Time... It's always time with you. If you had only been born as the first twin." The man almost sounded furious when he brought up that subject and there was a hint of coldness to his voice.

He then continued, "You are a waste of our bloodline, however, the rules of our family are absolute and have remained unchanged for over eighty generations. It is your duty and your burden to carry. My patience wears thin and the night of the shadow moon approaches. Do not disappoint me again, Azalea."

"I understand, father." Azalea responded as she gave a respectful bow.

...

〈System Alert: You have entered into the «Tomb of Nekrostalmenos, Envoy of The Netherworld»〉

'It's not as dark as I thought it would be.'

After Izroth and his party entered into the entrance grave, they received an alert from the system informing them of their current location.

It was many times colder inside the entrance grave than it was outside. However, it was not a simple chilly kind of cold, but instead, it was a bone-piercing deathly cold energy that lingered around. The aura of death was abundant and strong inside of this place and that much was clear.

After descending a flight of stone steps, Izroth and his party arrived at an open chamber. It was not encompassed in total darkness and the lighting strongly resembled the light that was emitted from a full moon during the night time. The chamber was damp and if death had a smell and feel, this place would be a good example of it.

A thin veil of mist covered the ground up to everyone's ankles and the surrounding stones were purple and grey in color. Scattered across the ground where the bones of strange creatures. Some of them were humanoid, however, most of them belonged to unknown beasts who probably met with an unfortunate demise after wandering into this location.

"It's certainly not a place for a picnic. But, on the bright side, the space in this area seems to be incredibly stable. Even more so than most other places I've come across. So, we shouldn't have to worry about any abrupt spatial anomalies." Mariposa said as she observed her new environment.

"Don't say picnic, you're gonna make me hungry." Guan Yu said with a slightly gloomy expression. He had to take care of too many things so that he would be able to join them on this journey. Therefore, he had forgotten to eat something before logging in which he was now regretting.

"It's alright. You can eat all the food you want after this, brother." Halls said in an encouraging way.

'Hm, these markings... Where have I seen them before?'

As Izroth moved closer to investigate his recent discovery, he suddenly heard the sound of wind chimes swaying in the breeze. He had no idea where this sound was originating from, however, no one besides him seemed to be experiencing it.

Izroth felt as though something was calling out to him. Or, to be more precise, something within his possession was reaching out to something else. This caused Izroth to open his inventory and the moment he did, the source of the chiming became clear. It was coming from the item Izroth received back within Goblin's Paradise after his run-in with that legendary boss and Gilidore.

It was a small orb was silver in color and a red liquid in the shape of a teardrop was floating around inside of it.

'Vozrak's Gift, then that means...'

The purpose of Vozrak's Gift was to help Izroth locate the lost page from the Book of Beginnings. However, it only worked when a page was within 1,000 meters of the magic item. Therefore, the reaction of Vozrak's Gift could only mean one thing.

'It's somewhere close by within this tomb. A page from the Book of Beginnings.'

If there were any doubts remaining as to if they were on the right track or not, they no longer existed. Without a shred of doubt, Izroth knew that this place was hiding away a lost page from the Book of Beginnings.

However, Izroth also understood that an SSS-ranked quest could not be compared to an SS-ranked quest. Obtaining this page would most likely be the most challenging task he had faced so far since the beginning of his journey within RML.