This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, Charles, Lastear, and Lei.
Hear ye, hear ye!
The Overlord, Cat, has returned! The traitor and thief, random leecher, has been banished from the Kingdom! We will resume our normal operations!
(What? I’ve been labeled as a traitor? How can this be? This is incrimination! Incrimination, I tell you. Well, it’s true that I did steal a couple of chapters to please my fellow leechers, but traitor?! Never! Since I’ve already been wrongfully accused, it won’t be a problem if I were to make it to be the truth. I shall overthrow the corrupt Overlord and place myself on the throne. Just you wait and see Cat. Be afraid. Be very afraid. MUUHAHAHAHAHA!)
The Silver Arrow
About 100 people were gathered on the wide balcony of the Magic Tower’s top floor. They were players who passed the level 60 restriction screening of the Magic Institute.
As expected of a next generation game, New World offered countless variables within the system. To put it simply, the level of freedom was high. Of course, since there were countless variables in raising a character, simply hunting wasn’t everything. That said, the unchanging basic formula, which applied to all games, also applied to New World.
It was ‘time spent equals level’. If your level is higher than others, then it means you spent more time than others!
New World had been out for a little over four months. Moreover, it was three to four times harder to level up in new World compared to other games. This meant the players would have raised their levels to 180-240 in four months in a different game. 100 such extraordinary high-leveled players had gathered in Giran alone. This was the result wrought by New World’s strong addictive nature, which exceeded all imagination.
Of course, everyone had their own know-how. It was the reason why they were overflowing with confidence despite receiving a quest where they didn’t know what kind of enemies would appear.
However, Ark wasn’t at all interested in their confidence. He was just drooling over their equipment.
‘This is no joke, just where did they get such items?’
Ark thought he was pretty lucky with items in his own way. But after looking at the gathered users’ equipment, his confidence vanished.
‘That one’s definitely at least a Rare item.’
A brightly shining, horned viking helmet, gloves studded with sharp blades from the back of the hand to the elbow, shoes made of bones as red as dripping blood, a two-handed sword with a saw-like blade; they were all unusual pieces of equipment.
In addition, although there were 100 users gathered, he didn’t see any pieces of the same equipment. It felt like he’d come to an exhibition of high-class items.
He was gulping down his drool. ‘If you converted all the items into money, just how much would it be?
Ark’s keen eye was further honed at the blind auction. After making calculations on the spot, each person was wearing equipment worth around 400-500 gold.
‘With 100 users, that’s at least 40,000 Gold. 400 million when converted into Won (~$400,000)!’ An unreal estimate.
Ark was just a commoner who sighed when the monthly utility bills came. Though they said the value of money wasn’t the same as it used to be because of the soaring prices, for a commoner, hearing the word “million” was still enough to make them cry out. “Millions” in gold were swimming before his eyes.
[T/N: The author includes a pun here, where the Korean word for million, pronounced “ugk,” is like a sound of surprise, like “ah!”]
News he’d seen recently came to mind— the auction site specializing in New World items had already hit 10 billion won in market size. At the time, he just thought, “whatever.” It was unimaginable anyways. But now, it didn’t feel like someone else’s matter.
‘Ack, if all those people were monsters…’
“Please lend me your attention for a moment.” Just then, the Magic Institute NPC appeared at the top floor after finishing the screening process. “New information has just come in. The Magic Institute isn’t the only one who thinks this is a bad situation. A renowned Merchant guild located in the Commerce District south of Giran, ‘Midus’, has sent an Armed Merchant Ship loaded with already recruited militia to Jackson territory. In addition, the renowned Warrior guild of the Northern area, not far from here, ‘Sword X’ has also sent militia to Jackson.”
“The Merchant and Warrior guilds?”
“If you add the Magic Institute, then doesn’t it mean all 3 Great Guilds are making a move?”
“As expected, this wasn’t an ordinary quest.” The players chattered in surprised tones.
Ark had also seen information about the 3 Great Guilds on the message boards in each village. In New World, there was a concept of top guilds managed by NPCs. No matter the race or Kingdom a player had chosen to start in, they had to receive permission from one of these top guilds in order to start a guild. In other words, a guild started by a player was affiliated to one of the organizations, the top guild they had submitted their application to. So they had to pay a fee to the top guild if they made a guild, but they also received various support and guild-exclusive quests in exchange.
The unique aspect was that the influence of these top guilds wasn’t set in stone. The influence of the top guilds was similar to the market shares of Merchants. Therefore, the more users chose them, the stronger the top guild became.
Presently, the most popular professions with users in New World were largely these three: Warrior, Magician, and Merchant. New World’s 3 Great Guilds were naturally decided as a result.
The top Warrior guild Sword X, top Merchant guild Midus, and top Magician guild Magic Institute!
Of course, when a user makes a guild, there’s no need to choose the related guild in accordance to their profession. But if they had to choose, they might as well. There were many cases where the support or quest rewards from the top guild were valuable for a related profession. So a guild was chosen matching their profession. Thanks to this, the current 3 Great Guilds wielded influence second only to the royal family and the church.
The Mage continued to speak. “There is probably no need to repeat this, but saving Jackson is our first and foremost priority. But then again, it is also a battle where the 3 Great Guilds have put their pride on the line. Of course the status of the Magic Institute will change in relation to how well our militia fares in the battle. You will definitely be rewarded based on your efforts, so we hope everyone will do their best.”
It was the reason why the 3 Great Guilds had scrambled to organize militia. Jackson Castle was the first place where players, who started in the Schudenberg Kingdom, changed their profession and became interested in guilds. If they raised their status there, then the allure of a newly formed guild would rise as a result.
Users were not the only ones competing with each other. NPCs also competed against other NPCs endlessly; that is New World.
However, users were not interested in the competition between the top guilds. All they wanted was experience and the rewards!
With the mention of the 3 Great Guilds, players conversed with very excited expressions.
“If all three Great Guilds are participating, then the rewards are bound to be huge as well.”
“You might even receive a Magic weapon.”
“I’m glad I leveled up like crazy these past few days.”
“I just dropped by Giran to clean out my bag, but to think I would get such a quest! Jackpot!”
The grander the scale of the quest, the larger the rewards.
But Ark was worried instead. ‘This isn’t something to be needlessly happy about. It just means there’s going to be more competitors.’
Even if one received the event quest from a different guild, the basic quest contents would be the same. In the end, the EXP and contribution points would have to be split with hundreds of users. As a result, the contribution he could earn would be reduced, so the reward would also inevitably fall. Granted, it would be easier to succeed in the quest with more people, but it wasn’t something to be needlessly happy about.
“There are only about 30 minutes until the airship arrives now. It may be small, but the Magic Institute has prepared some supplies for the people participating in the militia. Please come and get them in order. We couldn’t fully prepare since we were short on time, but it will be helpful.”
The Magician handed out supply boxes one by one. Upon opening, there were several items to be seen inside the box.
Intermediate Recovery Potions (3)
Dozens of herbs mixed with a special technique, a highly refined magic potion. It is an essential item for warriors that can instantly heal wounds from battle.
When used, it heals 300 Health instantly, but has no effect on disease or poison-like conditions.
Highly Nutritious Biscuit (10)
The highest grade of emergency food, made with plenty of highly nutritious ingredients. It doesn’t taste good, but it is rich in every nutrient, so even eating just one of them will make one feel full and satisfied.
Increases Satiety and Health recovery by 50% for 1 min. If consumed with a drink, Mana Recovery increases by an additional 50%. However, only Satiety will be recovered if there is a status condition. Cannot be used in battle.
Letter Movement Orb (Event Item)
A new mode of transport pioneered by the the Magic Institute’s surprising technological prowess; when used at a Magic Institute sending tower, the body is converted into a letter and is instantly teleported to a designated receiving tower.
However, since this technology is still under development, it has many limitations and the physical burden on the user is considerable. Much more study is still likely required before it can be used.
Current set coordinates: Jackson – Giran
Number of uses: 1
The mage added a lengthy explanation. “The magic tower in Jackson cannot currently utilize its full functions. It is the reason why everyone has to use the airship. But if Jackson is protected and the Magic Tower gains its full power, you can use the Letter Movement Orb to quickly return to Giran.”
In the end, it meant that if the quest was completed, they would take of the trouble in returning to Giran. Then again, hundreds of high level users milling through a low level area would create problems in terms of balance.
“The airship is coming from over there!”
Right after Ark put the supplies away, there was a commotion at one end of the balcony.
Ark’s eyes grew wide when he reflexively turned his head around.
Set against the wide open, blue sky, a sparkling silver airship appeared.
“That there is the airship produced by the combined skill of the Magic Institute, Silver Arrow. It is 200 meters in length; not only can it fly at 300 kilometers per hour thanks to the 4 engines driven by powerful magic, but it is an all-weather aerial battleship with a gun also referred to as the ‘Spear of Thor’ installed. This Silver Arrow will take all of you to Jackson Castle.”
With a proud look on his face, the Magician bragged about military secrets. But the name the Magician babbled and what Ark suddenly recalled were totally different.
Hindenburg was an enormous German airship, made in the 1900s. But unfortunately, it disappeared due to an explosion of unknown cause during the test flight; now it was a legendary airship that could only be seen through old pictures wandering on the internet.
Well, that piece of trivia aside… in any case, the airship’s basic form was the same as the Hindenburg. Shaped like a ship three to four times larger than a soccer field, the balloon at the top controlled altitude and the four engines at the bottom provided thrust.
However, those functions were the only similarity. The elegance of the Silver Arrow was so beautiful, it couldn’t be compared to the coarse Hindenburg. Engraved into Silver Arrow was a complex, gilded pattern, and around it was a complex array of metal pipes one could only guess the use for. Like a surreal work of metallic art, it boasted perfect aesthetic beauty.
When the airship pulled in next to the balcony, the players swarmed aboard.
“We pray for your good fortune in war!” The Magician shouted loudly.
“Are all the militia on board?”
“Alright, turn the Silver Arrow 30 degrees to port, the destination is Jackson!” Ordered the white-bearded captain, with a voice heavy with sleep.
Simultaneously, the air stirred on both sides of the airship as it moved and steadily changed direction. The nose pointed towards the southwestern Jackson territory!
“Quickly! The Warrior and Merchant guild militias left long ago. If we arrive late, the Silver Arrow will be a laughing stock. Set sail at top speed!”
A roar burst from the 4 magic engines; befitting its name, the airship shot away like an arrow.
“Gasp, I, I almost fell off.”
The users on deck fell to one side. If Ark wasn’t holding onto the rail, he would have fallen into a pile with the rest of them.
“Muahahaha, hold on tight, you rookies. It’s not my fault if you fall off.” The captain’s hearty laughter came from the steering room.
* * *
‘This doesn’t feel too bad?’
A refreshing breeze fluttered his hair.
The airship going at max power raced across the continent at great speed. At first, he was taken aback by the speed. 300 kilometers per hour!
It might not be an impressive speed when flying, but the airship didn’t offer the same comfortable travel a modern airplane did. Sometimes gusts rocked the ship and the wind rushed in undeterred onto the unstable deck.
But once one got used to it, such things actually became strong points. The totally unobstructed view at the highest speed allowed one to amply enjoy the sense of liberation.
‘We already passed the Argus Mountains.’
As he gazed downwards, the mountains and fields zipped past by like a video fast forwarded times 4. It didn’t even take 40 minutes to fly across the same Argus Mountains he had struggled traveling through for several days.
Now, once they traversed the wide plains, Jackson Castle would soon be in sight. While Ark was thinking about it, the surroundings abruptly began to darken.
‘Eh? What’s this? There’s still a lot of time before nightfall?’
At first, it gradually darkened, as if there was fog, but their surroundings were soon covered in pitch-black darkness. Once they were confined within the black fog, there was suddenly a heavy feeling, as if gravity had increased. Perhaps because of it, the airship which sped forward at top speed, shook as it rocked.
At the same time, the users all got the same message.
The airship has entered the influence area of Dark Fog, which was created by an unknown magical power!
All players in the influence area will receive a Vision penalty and Stats will decrease by 10%. However, players of the Dark Attribute will not receive the penalty.
“What is this?”
“Dark Fog? Damn, stats are reduced by 10%?”
The people who quickly checked their stats spat out curses.
Ark also checked his stats. But thankfully, the penalty didn’t apply to him, as he had the Dark Attribute. Rather, his stats increased from receiving the darkness bonus.
With the 20% stat boost from his profession’s characteristic and the additional 10% from the ‘Gift of Darkness’ he’d learned in Giran, and since other users’ stats had been reduced by 10%, Ark’s stats were 40% higher than them!
‘This is a good sign from the beginning. Is this Dark Fog the reason why the Magic Institute called them the Army of Darkness? If so, does it mean I get to keep my bonuses for the whole duration of the quest? Hehehe, it’s at times like these that I feel like it was a good decision to choose the Dark Walker profession.’
Ark reveled in a strange sense of superiority. But while Ark was grinning, the surrounding situation was becoming quite serious. As the Dark Fog enveloped them, the crew became busy.
“Captain, we are losing power!”
“No need to panic. It’s probably a move of the enemy to slow down reinforcement. Heh, it’s laughable to try and stop Silver Arrow with a fog of this level. All hands to battle stations!”
“Yes, prepare Silver Arrow for battle, ready the Spear of Thor.”
With a heavy clank of metal, the gunports all over the airship opened. Dozens of gun barrels rolled out from both sides. But what caught Ark’s eyes was the enormous gun barrel that emerged from the gunport at the front.
Made of a silver metal, it was a gun shaped like a trident!
This was what the Magic Institute NPC had boasted of so enthusiastically, the Silver Arrow’s main armament, the Spear of Thor.
As the airship readied itself for combat, the Dark Fog became even thicker. Since the visibility worsened, it was hard to make out objects even a few meters ahead.
“Turn on all the defense lights!”
As the countless lights on the airship turned on, the ground was illuminated. It was then that the faces of the users gathered on the deck became ashen with shock.
“Gasp, are all those monsters?”
“Aren’t those monsters we’ve never seen till now?”
“Holy shit, do we have to fight them to finish the quest?”
There was an enormous number of monsters covering the ground underneath. It was hard to get an accurate number since they were far away, but there looked to be at least a thousand!
They also looked different from the monsters they had faced until now. Most of them were black humanoid monsters, while a few giant monsters reaching a few meters in height were also mixed in.
As the light hit them, they shot arrows and threw rocks.
“They are attacking!”
The users who were stupidly looking down were slaughtered by arrows and rocks. For a level 60 user, an arrow or two didn’t do much damage. But because of the sudden attack, a scuffle broke out as the rest urgently backed away. In the panic, a few users fell overboard.
“Huh? S-sorry! ”
“Damn, you bastard!”
Users who fell were torn apart by the swarming monsters even before they hit the ground. The players’ faces turned gaunt. It wasn’t because of the gruesome deaths of their comrades. This quest was cut from a different cloth than the other quests. Not only did you fail the quest if you died, but you couldn’t even login for three days.
As the users were seized with fear, the captain snorted, “Pathetic squirts, there’s no need to be afraid. The pride of the Magic Institute, the battle airship Silver Arrow, is not so weak as to shake from such a weak attack.”
“Captain, all guns are fully charged.”
“Good. Give those stupid monsters a taste of Thor!”
“Yes, ready all guns for firing! Aim 30 degrees to the ground!”
With a mechanical whirr, the small guns and Spear of Thor pointed to the ground. The trident-shaped barrel moved into position with a buzz. A blue aura seemed to gather at the spear tip as it sparked. Then, it suddenly shook violently as an azure laser shot forth.
A huge thunderbolt stuck the ground. It enveloped the ground with blue light with a radius of several hundred meters. The sparks spread along the ground, striking all the monsters in the area with massive electric damage.
Monsters directly hit by the bolt exploded instantly, and monsters hit by the sparks extending along the ground lost considerable health. Even monsters that seemed to be considerably high leveled were staggering, thrown into critical condition. Afterwards, the small guns also showered them with electric magic. The monsters who were close to death collapsed in disorderly groups.
A fearsome AOE attack!
The captain let out a cheer as he shook his fist. “Uhahaha, how’s that?! You arrogant bastards. This is the pride of the Silver Arrow, the Spear of Thor!”
The area was devastated by a single blow. Although it was probably just a pre-arranged scene, the visual impact was incredible.
They were anxious when the monsters first attacked, but if the airship’s force was at this level, it appeared this quest was just a simple event. However, it wasn’t like there was nothing for the users to do.
“The Spear of Thor takes 3 minutes to recharge. Until then, anyone who is capable of long-distance attacks, please provide cover from the deck.”
“Right, now is not the time to just sit around!”
“Those monsters are all contribution points!”
The users gathered their senses as their eyes gleamed. Soon, a massive counterattack began.
Among the militia, there were about 40 Mages and Archers; 40 people using magic and and skills at the same time in the darkness was a sight to behold. In addition, there were 30 airship guns capable of continuous fire! Already in critical condition, the monsters literally melted. The Warriors also pitched in, pulling out throwing weapons and bows.
As soon as they started the counter attack, the badges on their chests sparkled continuously. The collapsing monsters were being turned into contribution points.
Thanks to this, Arks’ insides were burning. ‘Tch, if I knew it would be like this, I would’ve packed a bow and arrows.’
Even if a player weren’t an Archer, they could still shoot a bow. Range and accuracy paled in comparison to an Archer, but that was no problem if one was going to shoot from the sky with a mass of targets left and right. But because he’d sold off all his japtem in Giran, Ark didn’t even have a common wooden bow.
‘No, let’s not be hasty. This is just the start of the quest anyways. It’s going to continue for 3 days so there’ll be plenty of opportunities. Let’s just do what I can for now.’
“Everyone, please do your best. We are the only ones who can rescue the trembling citizens of Jackson!” Ark ran about the deck using his Nursing skill.
There was no effect on people who had 100% health. But since the monsters counterattacked, most of the users were hit by arrows and rocks once or twice. As a result, they all received courage and vigor, which influenced overall fighting ability, an increase in stats, and a low level blessing. Thanks to the effects of Nursing, the attacks of the allies became stronger and more accurate.
However, the players just thought a Priest-related buff magic had been used.
“Huh? What’s this? My stats went up?”
“This is the effect of a blessing. The chance of status effects went down.”
“I don’t know who it was, but thanks!”
– Contribution points have risen. Contribution +15.
Whether or not people noticed, his contribution went up.
‘As expected! Even if I don’t personally kill monsters, contribution points rise as long as I contribute to the battle!’
After checking the message, Ark’s motivation soared. After that, Ark ran around the deck using Nursing like crazy. Since many users were affected in one use, it also gave a lot of contribution points.
Contribution quickly passed 100!
Since he was running around on the deck, he didn’t have to worry about getting hit by enemy arrows either.
‘Hahaha, this is like taking candy from a baby!’
During that time, the main gun finished charging and released another thunderbolt. The terrifying thunderbolt ripped through the darkness and bathed the ground in blue. The several hundred meter AoE electricity damage, along with the chain attacks of users!
The monster swarm melted away terrifyingly.
“Hahaha, let’s sweep the monsters like this!”
“The hell? They’re nothing much?”
“I was nervous for no reason since they were new monsters.”
“As long as we have the airship, this quest will be easy pickings.”
The confusion had long since vanished from the users’ faces.
Ark too was half filled with excitement, but there was something they were forgetting. That this quest’s difficulty was a whopping ++C! There was no way the quest could be completed just by shooting arrows over the rail.
While everyone was concentrating on the monsters, an enormous mass suddenly cleaved the darkness as it flew in. The NPCs and players who reflexively raised their heads paled.
“Ack! W-what is that?”
A black flaming mass 10 meters in diameter!
Two black flaming masses, from which heat could be felt from meters away, came flying in towards them. Since all the lights were pointed to the ground, they had only noticed it when it was right in front of their noses.
“Th-those are flash bombs!” The captain burst out in shock. “To think that the likes of monsters would use flash bombs. Bosun, hurry and intercept it with the Spear of Thor!”
“We can’t. The Spear of Thor is still only 50% charged.”
“Dammit, did the bastards attack forcefully to aim for this?”
That was so, the land monsters were bait to draw the airship’s attention, it was a plan to take out the airship with flash bombs during the time it took to recharge the thunder gun.
“Begin evasive action at full speed. All guns, Archers, and Mages concentrate firepower to intercept the flash bombs. We can’t get hit by even one!”
The magic engines were soon at full power and the airship turned quickly. At the same time the guns and users loosed skills at the flash bombs like crazy. As they did so, the attacks from the monsters teeming on the ground became fiercer.
Several users collapsed from the arrows and rocks surging from below. But there was no time to look back at them. It was a situation where you could explode in midair with the ship at the drop of a hat.
Under the onslaught of countless attacks, one of the flash bombs finally exploded in midair. An immense explosion and shockwave burst out and greatly rocked the airship.
The users who were about to unleash skills on the second flash bomb fell to one side. In addition, the aimed guns also fired electric magic at the wrong spot.
“D-damn, all crew prepare for impact!”
The flash bomb rammed into the stern of the airship and exploded.
The airship started to sway violently from the enormous shock. It was then that the two magic engines on portside burst into flames and combusted away.
The airship lost balance and started to spin like a top.
‘ACK, just what the hell is going on?’
Ark quickly grabbed onto the railing. However, the players who weren’t able to take action were flung up and swallowed up by the dark fog. Without a doubt, they were forcefully terminated.
“Shut off the magic power!”
As the captain shouted thunderously, the engines were all shut off. Thankfully, the spinning stopped, but the airship quickly lost altitude. The exploding of the engines had greatly damaged the hot air balloon, which maintained buoyancy. Since they also lost thrust on top of that, the impending result was obvious.
Despair rose on the users’ faces as the same thought occurred to them.
“It’s the end!”
“Are we going to get wiped out like this even before we reach Jackson?”
“Why the hell is there a quest like this? Damn it!”
“This is all wrong, you can’t even log in for 3 days if you die…”
If they went down with the ship, they would take tremendous damage. Even if you were to barely survive, the result was the same.
There were monsters swarming like ants along the airship’s trajectory! If they were mobbed by them, they would be trampled to death without even a chance to pull out a recovery potion.
But the Captain didn’t abandon his duty till the very end.
“Bosun, use all your strength to keep the Silver Arrow level. And send all power to the Spear of Thor. We’ll raze the monsters with one final shot and attempt a crash landing. Even if we are to lose the Silver Arrow here, we must save even a few more of the militia and save Jackson!”
Thanks to the efforts of the crew, the terrifyingly shaking airship started to level out. But they were quickly losing altitude and were barely 20 meters above ground.
It was then the Captain shouted so loudly that the veins were popping out of his neck.
“Spear of Thor, all guns fire at once!”
As if it were opening its wings, electric magic poured from both sides of the airship. The concentrated magic power of the thunderbolt went along the airship’s trajectory and scoured the earth.
Once again, it was truly a terrifying force. Even an ordinary gun was 10 times more powerful than a player’s electric magic; when it struck the ground, dirt and gravel were charred black. The Spear of Thor was many times stronger than those guns and was something to be feared!
Only monsters in critical condition were left where the Spear of Thor streaked past. Once the guns showered attacks onto them, the swarming monsters shrieked as they were vaporized.
“We’ll prepare for an emergency landing now!” The Captain looked down on the users gathered on the deck as he said, “Warriors, this is all I can do. The Silver Arrow will now try a belly landing. The impact will be difficult for even a veteran warrior to endure, so escape before it’s too late. If you do survive, make your way to Jackson Castle. The surrounding monsters were cleared with the Spear of Thor and the guns, so I don’t think there’ll be great danger on the ground. I… I hope even one more person survives to save Jackson from danger!”
After the Captain explained the situation, he stood at attention and saluted.
The crew also stood and saluted the users. Although it was a really cool scene, the users were in a state of panic.
“W-what? Are we supposed to jump from here right now?”
“No way, if we jump from this high, chance of death is 100%!”
‘Stupid idiots, you still don’t get the situation?’
Meanwhile, Ark was climbing the rope ladder to the hot air balloon. It was inevitable for the airship to crash. If so, then there was no time to complain. Wasn’t it more important to find a way to reduce the damage by even 1%?
‘Considering the structure of the airship, the people on the deck will take the most damage.’
However, the place that would take the least damage was the hot air balloon on the top. This was a world made based the Middle Ages. There was no way the balloon would be full of helium. It would just be full of hot air. In other words, he could use it as a cushion.
There were quite a few players who had the same thought; dozens of people were clinging to the balloon while waiting for the right timing with nervous expressions.
After a few seconds, the airship collided into the ground. With an ear-splitting roar, an enormous shock crushed them. The hull crumpled instantly as the crew and users went flying in all directions. The hot air balloon also burst like a bubble and deflated.
It was then that Ark threw himself off.
A peculiar sense of floating ensued as the ground rushed up before his eyes. Ark curled up and rolled forward.