Ark: Volume 2 Chapter 6

//Ark: Volume 2 Chapter 6

Ark: Volume 2 Chapter 6

This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, BlankBlank, Charles, Lei, Masadeer, and OpenBookWorm.


Soul Caretaker

“Snake, pack them up.”

When Ark pointed to the items gathered at his feet, Snake extended its tongue and swallowed it all. The trash piles that were swept in with the torrent were fairly profitable. Various kinds of seaweed, Merpeople items, recovery potions, Pearls and other random drops. Thanks to that, the bag he had completely emptied in Nodelesse had become quite hefty.

An exceptional amount of monsters had been guarding the pile of junk, but now, even if 5 or 6 of the dungeon’s monsters rushed him, he could easily defeat them.

The advantage of a Dark Walker’s Dark attribute was the stat increases, which allowed him to pose to be a higher level than he actually was, and thanks to it, he could gain additional EXP from defeating monsters at least 5 levels higher than himself with the same amount of effort. The applied additional EXP was 10% per 5 levels. The monsters he encountered in Gallic’s stomach were on average, 10 levels higher.

The additional EXP was a whopping 20%! To maximize the effect, Ark only slept for 2 hours a day and worked hard to level up. Thanks to this, Ark’s level increased by another 10 in a week.

“Status window.”

Character Name

Ark

Race

Human

Alignment

Good +50

Fame

520

Level

62

Profession

Dark Walker

Title

Cat Knight, Caretaker

Health

1,305

Mana

730 (+100)

Spiritual Power

100

Strength

176

Agility

196 (+17)

Stamina

246

Wisdom

25

Intelligence

141

Luck

41

Flexibility

14

Art of Communication

18

Affection

18

Special Stat: Knowledge of Ancient Relics

35

Equipment Effects

Black Bear Mouse Leather Armor: Agility 2, Frost Resistance +20
Cat Paws: Attack Speed +10%, Agility +15, Critical Hit Rate +10%
Crystal Golem’s Head: Mana +100

*All abilities will increase by 20% in the dark.

* You have the ability to hide in the darkness (Duration time 10 minutes. Cancelled if you get into combat).

* Resistance Fear, Darkness, Blind, and Charm spells is increased by 50%.

*You can bring out the true abilities from all types of tools.

Thanks to steadily raising his Stamina, his Health was now over 1,300. With the 100 additional Mana from the Crystal Golem’s Head, his Mana was 830! It was enough to use Dark Blade 8 times consecutively if he didn’t use his Familiars.

Since his level passed 60, his hunting efficiency decreased because he was no longer able to receive 10% additional EXP.

“I didn’t notice when the bonus was there, but when it disappeared, it doesn’t seem like the experience is increasing. Well, since my level rose enough and the bag is almost full, it should be about time to start finishing the quest.”

He still hadn’t found a clue about the quest.

The White Whale’s stomach was far more complicated than he expected. The long passageway was straight for the most part, but if he strayed a little it soon became a maze-like terrain. The phlegmy cell-like walls twisted and tangled, and there were places looking exactly alike no matter where he went. Some areas activated traps such as acid one from the stomach.

At first, everything was interesting, but after a week had passed, the dungeon covered in dark red flesh began to be stifling and suffocating.

‘Anyway, I need to find the place where I can end the quest.’

Ark walked forward.

Ark could approximately guess where the place related to the quest was located.

He had thoroughly combed through the lair for a week, but the sole place Ark hadn’t gone to was the lair of the Great Worms.

Ark had avoided fights with the worms to the best of his ability so far. But now, Ark was also level 62. With the additional bonus of the darkness attribute, he was at a level where he can somehow fight them.

Ark passed through the narrow passageway and came to a wide area. In a plaza-like space covered in red membrane, scores of worms were squirming.

Ark took out his pot, boiled soup, and drank it.

Spicy Flavor Seafood Soup
Health +100, Attack and Defense increased by 20% for 30 minutes.

The Seafood Soup, which could only be made once Survival Cooking reached Intermediate, had the best effects out of all the food Ark learned. In addition, it didn’t have the aftereffects that normally goes hand-in-hand with good effects. But it required relatively rare seaweed and shellfish, so he couldn’t eat it often.

Energy rose after drinking the soup. After also feeding Skull, he lured the worms one by one.

Even though he’d raised his level and was even enjoying the effects of the soup, the worm felt as strong as ever.

If Dedric would turn into a bat and draw its attention, it’d be much easier. After fighting difficult enemies without him, Ark came to know how much of big a help Dedric had been. But no matter how regrettable it was, he had no desire to use a Familiar who wouldn’t listen. Dedric still needed to have his behavior corrected.

‘Although its stats grew a lot while Dedric is being locked up…’

Skull had now grown to level 20, but its usefulness was still much lower compared to Dedric. Its movements were slower than Dedric, and it often ran about in confusion when the battle started because it wasn’t smart. Moreover, its stats also rose in the wrong places, such as Wisdom or Luck, so its Stamina was low. If the opponent was the worm, it’d be hard for Skull to withstand one or two hits.

However, Skull had endless loyalty.

When Ark was in the worst-case scenario, Skull died for him without hesitation. Users actually don’t feel pain when taking a hit. However, it was set so NPCs or monsters felt pain equal to reality and possessed fear of death.

It was the same reason why Dedric was getting beaten up by Ark and suffering. But no matter how well trained the pet or Familiar was, there were almost no cases where they would die in their master’s place.

It was only possible because Skull was dull and had strong loyalty.

‘Skull is my additional health.’

Skull’s real role was to die for Ark in the worst situation.

Skull also understood its role. If Ark’s Health fell below 10%, Skull went in front of him without any orders. Then, with his stats raised significantly by the Indomitable and Undying, Ark let loose a Counter Attack or Dark Blade at the worm and killed it.

Skull also barely endured one or two hits.

If the critical hit or Dark Blade missed by some chance, then Skull would be inevitably force recalled. However, thanks to the experience Ark had gained underwater, the precision of his techniques had risen enormously and skill failure was very low.

The first time is always difficult.

‘The worm has strong attack power, but its attack method is a repetition of a simple pattern.’

After killing a few worms, he got the hang of it. He just barely won against the first two, but as he kept fighting, he had more Health left. Later, he was able to win with at least 30% Health left.

‘If the worm was not a large monster, I could probably defeat two of them at once.’

A large monster had the ability to cancel many kinds of additional effects with a high probability. If not for it , it would be possible to fight several of them with consecutive kicks and sword strikes, similar to what he did with the Crabs or Sharkmen.

Using the same method, all the worms were defeated in a span of half a day of hunting.

“You did well.”

As Ark patted his head, Skull rolled around to show its happiness. Skull became a more praiseworthy rascal in Ark’s eyes.

Even though he’d almost died a few times, if Ark patted it on the head once, it’d be completely okay. As Ark gazed proudly at Skull, Snake glared at Skull with a nasty look. It was something he’d found out just recently, but since Snake thought of Ark as its parent, it was especially prone to jealousy. If Ark favored another Familiar for even a moment, it would soon grow sulky, wrap itself around Ark, and behave annoyingly.

Well, though he’d gotten used to it now so it didn’t bother him as much…

In any case, after clearing the worms Ark began to really explore. Once he went to the opposite side, the entire space reverberated, going boom, boom.

“It’s the sound of a heartbeat. Is Gallic’s heart on the other side?”

Just then, Snake suddenly teared up and spat something out with a cough.

It was the Compass of the Sea Emperor.

The compass vibrated as it emitted light to match the sound of the heartbeat. Because of it, it seemed like Snake couldn’t endure it and spat it out.

“This is definitely the place where the quest will be solved. But where exactly do I need to go?”

No matter which direction he looked they were all blocked. Then all of a sudden, the passage from the crystal pillar came to mind.

If you want to see me then close both of your eyes.

‘If there’s some kind of trick here, then it’s definitely the hint.’

Ark stood still and closed his eyes.

As he did so, the sound ringing through the whole space gradually died down. Then at some point, the sound focused in one direction. As if the hand mirror was being led by the beating sound, it vibrated to one side.

‘Is it this way? But it’s blocked…’

Ark placed his hand on the wall and moved. Then the wall shrank away as if it was surprised and a path appeared.

It was also the same afterwards. As he moved along the path, he closed his eyes and stretched his hand towards the direction of the sound whenever he reached a dead-end. Then a path appeared on its own. After walking for a few minutes or so, a place flashing with scarlet light came to view.

In the center stood a stone statue in human form. It held an oval stone fragment in its hand. The stone fragment looked like it had been split somewhere, it had an aura so black that he could visually confirm it was being emitted.

“Found it. This is definitely the item she held and disappeared!”

When Ark quickly reached out towards the stone fragment—

The stone statue’s eyes flashed as it raised its head and let out a piercing scream.

“KYAAAAAA!”
“Eh, wh-what?”

Spiderweb-like cracks spread on the stone statue. Then, as if it were erupting, it scattered all around and the sight of a jet-black figure emerged. As a whole, it looked similar to the Reaper he’d fought in the Shadow Forest.

It had an enormous body big enough to completely fill the space. A demon with its eyes covered by a black cloth and draped in a black mantle. Behind it, black hair writhed all around like living snakes. Completely black, even the skin was as cracked as an old tree was black.

– Boss monster Adelaine has appeared!

 

Quest has been updated.

The Guardian Deity of the Merpeople, Gallic → Encroaching Darkness

At the end of your exploration of White Whale; Gallic’s stomach, you have finally arrived at the destination. The source of the strength that filled Gallic’s stomach with darkness and revived monsters as undead was at its heart.

It’s certain the darkness caused Gallic to lose his mind. You must defeat the evil being Adelaine, born from the root of darkness, and return Gallic to normal.

Difficulty: +E

The quest was updated with the warning message.

The difficulty was a whopping +E!

‘To think there’d be a boss monster even inside a whale’s stomach!’

Suddenly, the drooping hair spread out like tentacles and closed in to attack Ark.

Ark quickly moved his feet to avoid a tentacle. He blocked it as if it were a Jellyfish’s tentacle.

An electrifying fear scintillated through him. Even though he’d blocked it, his Health went down by 200.

“Eyes of the Cat!”

Adelaine’s health and level came up.

It was a monstrous 100 level boss monster.

Warning bells of an impending crisis flashed across inside Ark’s head.

“No way, I can’t win with my current level even if I were to die and revive again!”

If you don’t want to die, you have to accurately estimate the gap between you and your opponent’s strength in an exchange of blows.

Once the fight with the enemy started, it wouldn’t be easy to escape. Since one would have to take damage from two or three backstabs while running away with back turned. If one felt he had to run, the secret to surviving was to escape with a little extra Health left.

There was the definite level difference, but more importantly, if he suffered a chain attack from many tentacles, he’d only be able to endure for a few seconds.

Ark shouted as he spun around, “Skull, stop him!”

Pow-pow-pow!

Skull courageously leapt forward, but it was immediately recalled when it was struck by 3 tentacles. Ark had lost 200 Health because of this attack, but it also bought him a few seconds.

“Sorry, Skull. There was no other way.”

Ark held back the tears and madly ran to the exit.

Now there was no choice.

First he needed to get out of the exit and bide this time…

It would take a long time, but he could raise his level to 80 by hunting worms exclusively within the White Whale’s Labyrinth. With the darkness effect bonus, he might be able to fight Adelaine somehow.

Ark dodged the lashing tentacles and opened the exit by extending his hand.

But while he was running madly, the whole dungeon suddenly shook as a howl rang out from behind him. For looking behind, Ark’s face paled.

Adelaine screeched as it swung its tentacles towards the wall.

Every time it did so, the flesh of the wall fell in clumps.

The shaking of the labyrinth was due to Gallic being unable to endure the pain and ran amok. But there wasn’t enough time to feel sorry for Gallic’s pain.

Destroying the walls with monstrous strength, Adelaine was closing in on Ark. Adelaine was truly the manifestation of horror itself.

‘Holy shit, it’s moving really fast…!’

Every time the tentacles whooshed in with the sound of the wind and grazed the back of his head, Ark’s hair stood on its end.

‘Dammit, I thought it wouldn’t follow me if I got out of the heart!”

He was mistaken. Adelaine intended to follow him to no end.

Ark estimated that even if Adelaine followed him, its gigantic body would be slowed down by the walls.

If he took that chance to completely break away from its view and put a some hundred meters between them, the in-combat state would be cancelled. Then he intended to hide with ‘Stealth’. But rather than breaking free, Adelaine was actually closing the distance while destroying the walls and chasing him.

It was as if a message of despair was popping up before his eyes.

‘Dammit, am I going to die like this?’

Stat loss! In addition, he had to explore the dungeon from the beginning. But that wasn’t all! Dying against a boss monster increased the probability of dropping equipment items. And monsters also picked up items if they saw them.

What if he dropped Lancel’s Sword and Adelaine picked it up? The result would be him having to use a crappy sword until he defeats Adelaine.

‘No way! Even if I die, I’m going to run until the very end! Let’s see how far you’ll follow!’

Ark ran through the heaving Gallic’s stomach without rest.

Just then, something flashed across his mind as he passed a fork in the path.

‘Wait, this way has always been… of course! Maybe with this method…?’

Ark, who had combed through the labyrinth’s terrain, realized a hidden method to turn the tide.

‘Would something like that be possible? No, whether it’s possible or not isn’t important. The only thing I can do right now is to bet everything on this method!’

Ark stopped abruptly and twisted his body.

Adelaine quickly swung its tentacle.

Ark dodged the tentacle and ran towards Adelaine. Then, when he was up in front of its nose, he rolled on the ground. As the tentacle grazed his side, he received enormous damage. However, Ark didn’t fight back.

Ark sprang up and passed Adelaine, then ran in the opposite direction. Then he leapt into the fork he’d passed earlier. It was a plaza filled with ankle-deep water.

Ark stepped over the piles of trash strewn around as he moved to the center of the plaza, then turned around. Adelaine was pounding into the plaza.

Ark grinned as he muttered, “Now, let’s see if I die or you die.”

“KYAAAAK!”

Adelaine ran in shrieking, but stopped. When its feet touched the surface, acrid smoke rose with a hiss. Too late, Adelaine realized it was in some kind of danger and tried to back away. But Ark wasn’t going to let it escape for he had lured it in with such difficulty.

“Getting in is easy but it’s not so easy to get out. Snake, Shield!”

As if Snake had been waiting, it spat out a tattered shield.

It was the crappy Shell Shield he’d found in a trash pile. But right now, this shield was his only lifeline.

Ark took the shield and positioned it above his head like an umbrella, then swung at the wall with his sword. The space rocked wildly, closing the entrance and exit. Adelaine screeched in confusion as it flailed its tentacles, but it just blocked the entrance more solidly each time it did.

Simultaneously, a shower rained down from above their heads.

KWAAAA!

– Shield’s durability has dropped by 10!

 

– You took acid poison damage. Damage 50!

When the shower came down, it pierced holes on the shield. Even if a small droplet dripped onto him, his Health dropped steadily.

It was an obvious result. The liquid raining down like a shower was stomach acid!

The place Ark had entered was no other than Gallic’s stomach.

Once Ark stimulated the stomach, the surprised sphincter blocked the entrance and exit, pouring down acid.

‘I’ll be in for it if it doesn’t die. Either we die together, or you die alone!’

Adelaine was directly covered in the acid shower.

Its swaying mantle was covered with holes, and tentacles were also breaking off strand by strand. Adelaine thrashed about madly, once its Health has decreased to about 50%, it approached Ark. However, with each step it took, a malodorous smelling steam rose as Adelaine’s Health dropped.

It certainly wasn’t a relaxing situation for Ark.

“Restoration magic! Restoration magic! Restoration magic!”

Ark repaired the shield without rest as he drank recovery potions. Even so, his Health dropped steadily.

‘From now on I’ll fight patiently!’

By the time Adelaine crossed the stomach and reached Ark, it already had less than 10% of its Health left.

Adelaine shrieked in rage as it raised its tattered arm.

Ark used his trump card.

“Summon Familiar, Dedric!”
“Ack! Ma-master?”

Dedric let out a confused screech as he was summoned.

“Ma-master, please forgive…”

“Shut up and do everything you can to block that guy. If you do a good job then I’ll forgive you!”

“Huh? Really?”

Without even knowing what was going on, Dedric replied with an emotional face. Then he immediately turned into a Bat and rammed himself into Adelaine’s face.

But Dedric was forcefully recalled after just a few seconds of being baptized in acid.

“Arghh, it’s hot… Master… you… promised.”

It was a brave end.

Deric’s sacrifice had an effect. When Dedric rushed in Adelaine’s hand slipped to the side. Although Ark lost some health he was able to avoid a direct hit.

Ark flipped the shield over his back like a turtle and jumped up.

“Dark Blade!”

The magic sword released a Dark Blade.

With a violent noise, he landed a critical hit. At the same time, a golden opportunity appeared. In tatters from the acid, Adelaine stumbled as it fell to one knee and allowed a Double Critical Chance. Without delay, Ark cast Dark Blade.

– With Double Critical Chance, you have landed critical hit 2x.

 

– You have levelled up.

As Adelaine’s throat gaped open, a black light burst out. Since he defeated a level 100 boss monster, Ark instantly levelled up to level 64.

Streams of black light poured out for a while, then Adelaine’s body began to shrink ceaselessly. Then finally, it shrank to a size similar to Ark. A hazy grey light gathered in the form of a female Mermaid. The female Mermaid stretched out a trembling arm as it whispered in a weak voice.

– …Christin…

Slowly, the acid rain stopped.

* * *

Ark stared at the female Mermaid with a stupefied face. He had toppled the boss monster, but the item which was supposed to drop didn’t and something else had appeared instead.

Just in case, Ark widened the distance and scrutinized the female Mermaid.

– Christin, Christin, it’s you, right?

The female Mermaid’s hands fumbled around her as if she was blind while she was weeping.

– Why? Why don’t you call my name? Why don’t you hold my hand? Have you forgotten me? Is that it? I waited for you. I’ve waited for you as I cried until my eyes could no longer see. Christin… please…

The female Mermaid bowed her head as she sobbed.

– You’ve become angry with me, haven’t you? Right? You’ve become angry because I tricked you, right? I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I… knew you would return. I thought you would return if I did that. You can’t forgive me after all? Is that it?

Suddenly, the hand mirror on his chest buzzed as it vibrated. Once he took it out, light poured out, reflecting the inflamed red stomach lining, and started to show a cutscene.

There was the man he’d seen in the pillar. There was also a Mermaid.

The man was agonized because the world was being encroached by darkness.

The power of darkness was enveloping the world had not yet reached Nodelesse. The land was covered in the flames of war, but Nodellese was as peaceful as it had always been.

Because of this, he was even more agonized. He was ashamed he was looking away from the world’s suffering. And he knew that one day, even beautiful Nodelesse would be stained in darkness.

In the end, the man stood.

He had decided to devote his life to stopping the great evil that was covering the world. The man explained his feelings to the one he loved for a long time.

His lover understood him, it was all she could do. Because they were the words of the one she loved.

But she didn’t accept it.

The lover stayed up on the last night, stole one of the man’s treasures, and hid it. She believed if she hid it, the man would eventually give up and return again.

But the man did not return. Even though 10 years passed as time flowed on and the force of darkness was eliminated, the man still did not return.

The woman finally regretted it.

The despair of having to wait for the lover who did not return changed her. Her hair fell and her skin cracked like an old tree.

The never-ending tears even robbed her of her sight. And finally, her end came to her too. Knowing her nearing end, she entrusted her body to Gallic, her soul-companion.

So even if she died, the man’s treasure would be protected…

It was the only thing she could do as atonement.

After imprisoning herself, she spent a long time regretting and regretting some more, and atoning, atoning.

Ark felt her emotions far too strongly.

The hand mirror even conveyed her emotions. But it wasn’t the only reason.

Why wouldn’t he understand the longing, loneliness, and pain for a lost one? Ark had experienced the same thing, after all.

5 years ago when his father passed away, he felt the same indescribable pain.

Even more if it had happened because of his mistake…

The wounded soul trembled as it wept.

– I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

Ark lowered his shield and walked toward her.

What could he do? What could he do for her?

His heart was filled with sympathy. She was a girl who was turned into an evil spirit while waiting for her lover. Once the evil spirit’s mask was taken off, there was simply a miserable lover looking for forgiveness.

Having received her emotions, Ark cried as he grasped her hand.

“Adelaine… you’ve done nothing wrong. That’s how love is. It can only be beautiful because it is so very selfish. That is love, and it is the same kind of love I shared with you. No one will be able to blame you and neither will I. I will not forgive you because I’ve never hated you…”

– Christin…

Adelaine’s eyes trembled.

It was then.

Suddenly, her grey form was enveloped in white light, and she slowly changed into a younger body.

It was the appearance of the beautiful Mermaid he had seen in the hand mirror and pillar.

She gazed at Ark with a bewitching smile, then approached like the spring breeze and lightly kissed him.

‘Does Adelaine know I’m not her lover?’

As he received the kiss he instinctively thought as such.

But she just revealed an ambiguous smile as she slowly disappeared.

Miracle Nursing has succeeded.

Through sorrow that arose from sincerity, you aided a fallen soul. People with bodily pains are not the only patients. Patients who truly need someone’s hand are people who know an illness of the heart. An illness of the heart is a terrifying sickness that corrupts the soul.

An illness of the body can be treated with medicine, but an illness of the heart can only be treated by a person who understands.

Sometimes, just one word of comfort can demonstrate a miraculous strength no magic can replicate. With your sincere words of comfort, Adelaine’s heart has now found peace, and she can be with the person she loves.

*For succeeding in Miracle Nursing, all your stats has increased by 1.

*Affection has increased by 10.

*Fame has increased by 50.

*Your alignment to Good has increased by 50.

 

Since you’ve succeeded in Miracle Nursing, your title has been elevated to ‘Soul Caretaker.’

Your fame as a caretaker has increased and you will come to receive the praises of many of the sick.

*As a title-related bonus, all stats increase by 1 each.

*Fame increases by 50

A stone fragment and necklace fell at the spot where Adelaine had disappeared.

Mysterious Stone Fragment Infused with Ancient Power

It is a mysterious stone that emits a dark energy from its surface.

You can check it once Knowledge of Ancient Artifacts becomes level 50. Until it is checked, the owner will suffer a -50% penalty to all stats.

 

Adelaine’s Necklace (Rare)

Item type: Necklace

Restriction: Level 70

A necklace used by Adelaine, it is a simple pearl necklace. However, it responded to the Adelaine’s affection as she prayed for her loved one’s safety and came to possess a magical power.

Effect: Defense increased by 30, Affection increased by 5.
Special Effect: Once a day, you can use the ocean’s blessing to raise defense by 40%.

‘It’s a R-rare item! And an accessory!’

Users who hadn’t been able to put on a single ring even at level 100 were among the majority. Accessories were extremely precious, moreover, if it was Rare then it was an item hard to find even in an auction.

He had been very expectant since he’d defeated a level 100 boss monster in a hidden dungeon, but this was truly above his expectations.

The penalty imposed on the owner of the Stone Fragment wasn’t a problem. Once he put it in Snake’s belly, it didn’t affect Ark.

As Ark drooled while grabbing the items, a humming voice rang in the space.

– Thank you. Adventurer.

“Huh? Wh-who?”

– I am the owner of the body you are inside of.

“Body? Then, perhaps White Whale Gallic?”

– That is my name.

“Haven’t you gone insane?”

– I was insane. However, when you purified Adelaine, I came to my senses. Adelaine is my long-time companion. She spent hundreds of years inside me as she waited for someone who would not return. Her body died long ago, but her mind remained and waited for him. However, that was the problem.

Gallic let out a big sigh and said in a bitter voice.

– Dark energy lies in the object she stole. It does not exert very much influence on a living being, but it is fatal to a soul. In addition, she was wrought with guilt over having betrayed him. Her guilt was as strong as her love. Because of it, she was consumed by the dark force the stone emanated. And I, who shared a spiritual bond with her, was also assimilated into that darkness, thus I lost my senses.

“Someone who would not return? What do you mean?”

– Actually, he died before Adelaine came into me.

“What? Then why didn’t you tell her?”

– She also knew. Even though I did not like knowing, she came to know it. However, she did not acknowledge it. She drew her last breath, and her soul believed he would return. That is love.

Although he was just a whale he was talking about all sort of things.

In any case, after listening to his words, Ark felt even more sorry for Adelaine. As Ark lowered his head with a melancholic expression, the white whale spoke in a loud voice.

– Raise your head with pride. Adventurer! Straighten your shoulders! You have freed a lover from the pain she suffered for hundreds of years. Where could you find a more praiseworthy deed for a man?!

RUUUUUMBLE!

The space suddenly shook and an enormous amount of sea water rushed into the stomach. Unable to prepare the Sharkman’s Shackles, Ark was swept by the torrent in the space of a single breath and sucked into somewhere. In the next moment, he was launched up by an incredible force.

At the same time it became bright before his eyes, and he could see the blue sky.

“Blechh, bleeech!”

From his mouth came the sound of Ark trying to draw breath in vain.

Ark surged into the sky riding the plume of water that was bursting from Gallic’s blowhole. He saw the blue sky illuminated with sunshine and the ocean stretching endlessly underneath him all at once.

He saw the White Whale’s back as it surged above the sea like a mountain range. It was a magical and beautiful spectacle.

* * *

“So that’s what happened.”

The Mermaid Queen nodded.

Ark returned to Nodelesse with the White Whale. When he conveyed the tangled truth about Adelaine, the Mermaids received a considerable shock.

Since everything they had believed as the truth originated from misconceptions, it wasn’t easy for them to acknowledge it.

However, they couldn’t help but believe the words of Gallic, who had witnessed the very truth himself.

“Your courage and love, which just looked foolhardy, have brought about a good result in the end. All Merpeople should feel ashamed for misunderstanding and hating the Meow all this time from a hasty judgement.”

‘Eh? Meow? What is this absurdity?’

Until now, he had never once heard of the Meow from the Merpeople. But why did this term suddenly pop up after everything had been settled?

As Ark made a confused expression, the Queen asked as if she was surprised, “Didn’t you know?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Christin was the hero of the Meow. They also call him Hero Maban.”

“Hero Maban?” Ark was shocked.

Dark Walker was Hero Maban’s initial profession. Because of this, ever since his job-change, Ark had been examining tons of data to try and find information about Hero Maban.

All of New World’s professions had a related hero. If you found information about that hero, there were many cases where you earned a linked quest. It was an essential quest that granted items, skills, or stats matching the profession.

But Ark hadn’t been able to find any information yet and had half given up. But to think the hand mirror quest was a quest related to the Hero Maban!

‘That’s right, why didn’t I think of that? Debra desired the power of Hero Maban. Then the item he dropped could be hiding a secret to earning Hero Maban’s strength. And Merpeople are also related to beasts in the end.’

At last all the clues came together in his mind, though it was meaningless since everything was already over…

“Now he is called Hero Maban, but back then he was just a Meow boy. Because of that, many Merpeople opposed the former Mermaid Queen’s love. Before then, the Meow and the Merpeople did not have a good relationship.”

‘No wonder. At the heart of it, it was the relationship between a cat and a fish?’

“And then he eventually left Nodelesse, and the former Queen hid herself while longing for him. Gallic also went crazy as a result, and in the end the Merpeople who hated Chrstin from the beginning pinned all the blame on him and became sworn enemies of the Meow. All of the Beasts saw Hero Maban as the savior, but the Merpeople did not acknowledge it. Though that was all hundreds of years ago…”

“Will the misunderstanding clear now?”

“Yes, your effort has resolved all misunderstandings. I will represent the Merpeople and send an ambassador to the Meow to apologize for the wrongs so far. I do not doubt the era of hostility will end, and an era of harmony and peace will come.” Queen smiled and nodded.

“Also we will not forget the favor you have done for us. You have returned our patron guardian Gallic to us. You have done what no one, let alone a Merperson was able to do. As the hero of the Merpeople, I give you our most heartfelt thanks.”

The Mermaid Queen approached and gave Ark a kiss. At Ark’s embarrassment, the Mermaid Queen laughed softly as she spoke, “This is the sign of thanks Merpeople convey to someone who has become a true friend.”

‘Ah, so she does know.’

Ark remembered Adelaine’s last kiss and let out a bitter smile.

“You are the most heroic friend and benefactor of the mermaids. I, the Queen of the Merpeople, do so vow. Just as you have sacrificed for the Merpeople, and we promise to help with all our strength when you are in need.”

“For the benefactor!” The Merpeople pulled out their swords and raised them as they shouted.

– The Encroaching Darkness quest has been completed.

When the quest was completed, his level rose by 1 and became 65.

But Ark was restless.

The process of the story was progressing similar to the quest with the young Lord of Jackson. The story of them becoming friends and what not, and sending him right off without a single reward!

But Ark’s worry was baseless.

Perhaps because she was a Queen in name, she was quite different from the young Lord.

“This is the small gift we have prepared to thank you for your work.”

The Mermaid Queen gave him an armor made out of transparent scale.

Guardian Armor of Merpeople (Magic)

Armor Type

Leather Armor

Defense

80

Durability

100

Weight

35

Usage Restriction

Level 60

Guardian armor, only Warriors who has received the recognition of the Merpeople can equip. Legends say it is made from the scales of a Sea Dragon. It is a light and soft material, so one can move with great ease. In addition, anyone who equips this armor will not receive any water-related damage or penalties.

Option: Water Attribute Resistance +100%, Penalty based on water is nullified.

Ark’s eyes became as wide as a cauldron lid.

Although all the options were related to water, it still had a whopping defense of 80. It was double the defense of the Black Bear Mouse leather armor he was using now! Though it was a Magic item, it was Rare-class considering the defense.

It was a leather armor, but it had a much higher defense than the level 40 plated armor he’d taken from Andel.

The one thing that bothered him was the durability, it couldn’t be repaired with normal methods.

‘Che, if it wasn’t for that I could have sold it at rare item price.’

“There is one more thing I would like to ask from you.”

“If it is for the Merpeople I would be willing to do anything.” Ark perked his ears and quickly nodded.

“Since we have lived in isolation for too long, there is no one among the Merpeople who knows the outside world. Therefore, if possible, we would like you to go to the Meow as the ambassador of the Merpeople and convey our apologies.”

Envoy of the Merpeople

The Queen of the Merpeople regrets the past mistakes and wishes to reconcile with the Meow. For you who has high Intimacy with both the Merpeople and Meow, you should be able to easily reconcile the two races.

Difficulty: G

Quest Requirement: Meow and Mermaid intimacy must be over 70%.

Although there was a quest requirement, the difficulty was G. It didn’t really seem like a quest that would yield money.

But Ark always welcomes a quest.

“I understand.”

“However, I do not know if you will be able to meet them. According to the rumors that have floated through the ocean, it has also been a while since they hid themselves on land…”

“If that’s what you’re concerned about, there’s no need to worry.”
Ark laughed as he interrupted her. Then he told the tale of how he saved the Meow in the ruins and obtained the title of ‘Cat Knight’.

“If I go the Meow will forgive the past misunderstanding.”

“No way, to think you’d have such a relationship with the Meow… I see. Now I can understand why you were able to find Nodelesse and free Queen Adelaine from her fetters. He… in the end, he kept his promise with Queen Adelaine to return.”

“Perhaps he did.”

“Then it would be good for you, the Seeker of Truth, to keep the stone Queen Adelaine protected so preciously. There’s no way to check, but if the idea I’ve formed after hearing your explanation is right, I think it is one of the Three Marvels of Hero Maban told in legend.”

“Three Marvels?”

“They are the three treasures and they are the root of Hero Maban’s strength. They disappeared with Hero Maban, so their whereabouts are currently unknown. But I’ve heard the rumor that one of them was left in the underground world Hero Maban visited last.”

‘It’s quest information for the next profession!’

Ark immediately asked, “Where is the underground world?”

“No one knows. They are Beasts like us, but before the Dark Age, the residents of the underground world lived disconnected from the outside. They are a race completely shrouded in a veil. Among the Beasts, the only person who communicated with them was Hero Maban.”

In the end, he had to find out himself. They were disappointing words, but at least he had a clue.

“Now, please come outside— everyone will want to see the face of the hero.”

Queen led Ark outside.

Once he came out of the castle, countless Merpeople of Nodelesse burst out in a cheer. Once he passed the square filled with Merpeople, he was covered in a flurry of kisses everywhere.

He could handle the female Mermaids’ kisses, but it was really hard to withstand kisses from the burly Mermen and grey bearded elderly.

When they got out of the square and reached the entrance of Nodelesse, the Queen said, “Since Gallic has returned, the Merpeople will traverse the ocean again for the first time in hundreds of years and return to our native land. Since it is the far side of the endless ocean, even if it’s you, we won’t be able to meet again for a while, but the Merpeople will definitely return here again. Until that time, please take this.”

Queen handed him a small flute.

Flute of the Merpeople (Special)

A flute that calls friends of the Merpeople. You can use it anywhere at sea.

When Ark took the flute and moved a few steps, all of Nodelesse shook. Then, as if there was an earthquake, the ground cracked as the whole city rose. The gigantic White Whale Gallic hefted all of Nodelesse and was rising.

Gallic rolled his building-like eyes to gaze at Ark and let out a roar that resounded through the ocean. Then he raised a tsunami-like current as he cut through the ocean.

The colorful underwater city Nodelesse slowly got further. After settling its dark history, it was leaving to find its home after hundreds of years.

‘Haa, for some reason I feel empty.’

Ark stared at Nodelesse blankly until it was completely out of sight.

It was a place where many things had happened. But although it was regretful, he couldn’t go with them either, and a new adventure, even more EXP, and items were waiting for Ark on land!

Ark blew on the Flute of the Merpeople.

Since he was underwater, there was no way sound would come out. But after a few seconds, a school of dozens of dolphins approached while cutting through the currents. The dolphins lowered themselves and extended their backs as if they were telling him to ride.

Once Ark got on, the dolphins surged to the surface at an incredible speed. Scores of dolphins raised a spray as they sprang above the surface. And like a surfboard, they began to speed towards the shore.

Although he had walked for days to get to Nodelesse, by riding on the dolphins it didn’t even take 30 minutes. From afar, he saw the sight of the lovely shore.

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2016-11-02T22:22:02+00:00February 22nd, 2014|[X / KR] Ark|75 Comments