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471 A Troubled Worldly Skies and The Fractured Fireheart Apothecary Society

 After the collapse of the Millennial Veiled Oasis, Izroth explored the surrounding area to check for any additional hints. Unfortunately, the clues he did discover was unrelated to the sleeping Trephasia.

Izroth was tempted to use a potion that awakened targets that were put to sleep; however, he did not know if it would harm the young Trephasia. After all, the health potions Mirage used on her helped for one second and then had a negative effect the next. It was too much of an unnecessary risk to take.

Izroth inwardly shook his head. There was no definite time limit set for the quest, which was something he had not come across. Usually, the quest would always have a set time limit, or it would be listed as "None". But, he was uncertain what to make of the "???" that was shown.

Did it mean that even the system could not give him an exact time limit? Was it the same as having no time limit? Or, would it automatically start when the young Trephasia awakened? Either way, Izroth understood that his questions would remain unanswered until the young Trephasia opened her eyes.

'For now, there is nothing I can do. If she still has not awakened by the end of the week, then I will make a trip to Proximus and seek the Wiseman of Everpeak. If there is anyone who may have a good understanding of what's going on, it should be her.'

Izroth left the room on the 5th floor and shut the doors behind him. Besides himself and Opal, no one else had access to the 5th floor as it was considered off-limits. There were too many unknown factors, and the Mystical Realm Palace was registered as a safe zone by the system as long as Izroth kept it that way. Therefore, it was the safest place for the young Trephasia to stay. After all, he could not exactly walk around RML, carrying an unconscious child everywhere he went!

The moment Izroth stepped out of the room on the 5th floor, Opal bowed and courteously greeted him. It seemed that she had been standing there, waiting for his arrival.

Since Opal had become a familiar face in the Mystical Realm Palace, Izroth decided to appoint her as the main clerk. This would give her some additional freedoms. One of which was ejecting players if they were too disorderly-even if Izroth was absent.

"Is something wrong?" Izroth asked. Although Opal had access to the 5th floor, it was only in case of emergencies or Izroth's absence when the young Trephasia woke up from his slumber. So, if Opal was here, it meant that something worthwhile must have come up downstairs.

"No, everything is in order. Since I was instructed to inform you when Miss Worldly Skies and the Fireheart Apothecary Society arrives, I have come to make the report. It is just that the situation is not an emergency, so I did not want to interrupt Handler Izroth." Opal said with a smile.

'Oh? I didn't expect her for another day or two. Well, I suppose it doesn't matter since I have already completed the preparations for the 4th floor.'

"Come, let us welcome our the new addition to our Mystical Realm Palace," Izroth responded with a carefree smile.

...

Worldly Skies released a long sigh. There was a troubled expression on her face, and she appeared to be in deep thought. At the moment, she was on the platform that sat just before the third floor of the Mystical Realm Palace.

"Everything will be okay." The person next to Worldy Skies stated. He had the player name Hand In Fire and was the second in command of the Fireheart Apothecary Society, Xing Bai.

"I thought this was the best way to avoid becoming wrapped up in the chaotic world of the top guilds. But, it would seem that my outlook was still too naive regarding this matter. Now, there are those who are disheartened and no longer wish to take this step forward." Worldly Skies sighed.

"Don't tell me the Pill Emperor is getting cold feet?" A voice came from upstairs.

Worldly Skies and Xing Bai turned towards the stairs to see Izroth along with Opal descending the steps.

"Surely you jest. I, Worldly Skies, am a woman of her word. It is good to see you well, Apothecary Izroth." Worldly Skies said with a faint smile. But, one could tell with a glance that something was troubling her.

"Apothecary Izroth." Xing Bai greeted.

Izroth nodded and stated, "I officially welcome you and your Fireheart Apothecary Society to my Mystical Realm Palace. However, I have to say the numbers are somewhat lower than I anticipated."

Izroth swept his gaze across the other players that had accompanied Worldly Skies and Xing Bai. In total, there were only a dozen!

According to Worldly Skies, the Fireheart Apothecary Society numbered 52 players. Although she informed Izroth that only a few might not want to follow her, it should not be many who felt that way. After all, the benefits given to them were favorable and reflected that of a partnership rather than that of a subordinate. So then, why were more than 30 players from the Fireheart Apothecary Society missing?

Worldly Skies shook her head as a weak smile appeared on her face.

"Initially, everyone was excited, and everything was going well. But, lately, we received a lot of pressure from certain top guilds to join their side. Some guilds methods were more... Forceful than others. As a result, a lot of members felt threatened and were scared off." Worldly Skies explained.

"It's like this..." Xing Bai revealed what took place over the last several days. He could see that Worldly Skies did not want to talk about it since she blamed herself for what happened.

A few moments later, Izroth got the full picture of what Worldly Skies, Xing Bai, and the rest fo the Fireheart Apothecary experienced.

To be exact, the entire situation started back after Xing Bai's first visit to his Mystical Realm Palace in the conference room with the other top guilds. It was there that the existence of a second Pill Emperor, Worldly Skies, was announced. After that, several guilds looked into the Fireheart Apothecary Society, as well as their background, and tried to develop a close connection to them. But this was not a problem in and of itself.

The real problem did not begin until three days ago when they were contacted by one of the top ten guilds, the Headhunter Syndicate! It was this guild that threatened their members after Worldly Skies denied meeting with the leader of their guild. She had heard more than enough rumors to know that there must be some truth to them; therefore, she did not want to associate herself with such a vile and cruel person.

However, Worldly Skies had no idea that the rumors were an understatement. The Headhunter Syndicate did not give up and would block any member of their Fireheart Apothecary Society from leaving the village where they set up their temporary headquarters. It was not until some members of the Fireheart Apothecary Society agreed to quit that those individuals were allowed to pass.

If not for Worldly Skies using a favor and borrowing a magic item from an associate that allowed her along with a group of nearby allies to turn invisible, then she and her current group would have likely still been trapped inside of that village!

But, it did not end here. Yesterday, they were contacted by yet another top guild, Blue Oasis! Of course, Worldly Skies and the rest of the Fireheart Apothecary Society wanted nothing more to do with the top guilds after their experience with the Headhunter Syndicate. So, naturally, she turned them down.

However, who would have thought that Blue Oasis would be so persistent? They were dead set on meeting them. So much so that Blue Oasis attacked the Headhunter Syndicate, who had been blocking their temporary headquarters for days! Apparently, it was Blue Oasis' way of showing their good faith.

Worldly Skies, of course, gave her thanks. Nevertheless, she still did not wish to meet with them and get further drawn into the already unstable situation.

However, after making her intentions clear, Blue Oasis "warned" her that becoming friends was the best choice she could make for her Fireheart Apothecary Society. After all, they had "saved" her organization from the evil Headhunter Syndicate. Sadly, although their words appeared kind on the surface, there was a vague threat and intimidation factor hidden away in them. In the end, Xing Bai described them perfectly when he said, "The Lesser of Two Evils".

'Niflheim's absence from Blue Oasis is slowly starting to peek through. Their methods seem to have become much more aggressive as of late. Still, they are not bold enough to completely shatter their outside image. As for the Headhunter Syndicate... It would seem that I have to cut off one of their arms as a warning.'

Since Izroth chose to take them in, he already saw Worldly Skies and the Fireheart Apothecary Society as his own people. Those who bully his people only had one fate-annihilation!

"You should not blame yourself. Sometimes, this kind of situation can turn misfortune into fortune. Now, you know who will truly stick by your side in a time of desperation. You may have lost much, but you have gained a lot more. As for those top guilds-you can leave this matter to me." Izroth said.

Worldly Skies took Izroth's words to heart. Indeed, what he said was true. The ones who left ran away when times became difficult. However, those who were still with her deserved her trust and confidence!

"Pills are not your only talent, Apothecary Izroth. It appears you have also been gifted with a silver tongue. I thank you for your words of kindness." Worldly Skies said as a friendly smile found its way onto her face. The troubled aura that lingered around her had significantly diminished. She did not expect Izroth to confront two top guilds for her or her Fireheart Apothecary Society, but just hearing his words gave her some comfort.

After some small talk, Izroth guided Worldly Skies, Xing Bai, and the members of the Fireheart Apothecary Society to the 4th floor of the Mystical Realm Palace.

"This entire floor belongs to your Fireheart Apothecary Society. I have made a few minor arrangements; however, if you need anything else, feel free to inform Opal, and she will meet your needs. If it is something she is unable to obtain, then contact me directly, and I will take care of it." Izroth stated.

However, his words seemed to go into one ear and out the other. He called this a "minor arrangement"?!