Loading

406 407

Log in to get LK and view more chapters.

Chapter 407. Ivanhilde

"A reunion?"

Char mulled over the word and asked, "In other words, you encountered familiar faces of those who should have died, right?"

Lucius nodded.

"Does this include Ivanhilde?"

"Indeed."

Ivanhilde Ludwig was an ordinary member of Copper Street.

As mentioned before, during the purge of Copper Street by Lucius, almost all of the higher-ups of the organization were killed. The only one who survived was Ivanhilde.

Back then, he was the first to realize that Lucius' rage was more of an act than genuine emotion, and he was also the first to respond.

So, in response to the excellent acting skills of Lucius, Ivanhilde employed exquisite acting skills of his own to fool her.

Even though he had witnessed the strange deaths of his leaders one by one, he had served Lucius without any reservation, unconditionally believing in the latter's judgment. He had even transformed himself into Lucius' sharpest sword, attacking wherever and whoever his master targeted, even if the targets were his very own people!

Due to his superb acting skills as well as the fact that he was a useful tool, there was once a time when Lucius proclaimed that he was a servant given to her by the Night Lord...

As such, Ivanhilde managed to survive until the very end of the purge.

Nevertheless, Ivanhilde was still underestimating Lucius...

After the last backbone of Copper Street was executed by Ivanhilde, the battle between the two veteran actors came to an end.

The night before Ivanhilde was about to escape, his safe house was destroyed by Lucius. The whole process was like a tornado sweeping away at the clouds, and Ivanhilde was caught completely off-guard by the attack.

One would think that this was the end of their story, but there was more to it.

Lucius caution towards Ivanhilde was like the United States towards the USSR during the cold war.

She was afraid that Ivanhilde was faking his death, or that he would be resurrected with the help of the church.

As a result, the ensuing dismemberment of Ivanhilde's corpse was worse than being torn to shreds. She had completely annihilated his existence, and she had also disposed of all relatives and items that belonged to him.

At this point, the character Ivanhilde had been wiped off the face of history.

However, please note that all of these events happened before the game started, which makes it part of the game's lore. Logically speaking, Char should not know about it.

But in reality, there was a hidden thread that was hidden deep within the game regarding Ivanhilde.

At the same time, Ivanhilde was a very important character to both Char and Andaheim.

The search for Ivanhilde had been going on for a long time, which meant that players could receive a quest when their reputation reached a certain level. The first time Char received such a quest in Sursee, he did not think much of it. He thought that it was just a trip to some ruins.

However, just as he was about to leave Andaheim after his long stay there, he encountered yet another searching quest.

This time, Char was more careful.

Would the Fantasy World arrange such a meaningless errand that seemed to repeat once a year?

Of course not.

Therefore, in the following iterations, whenever he had the opportunity to head to Sursee, he would farm enough reputation to trigger the quest again. It was only then did he realize a problem—

As a player, he had to collect as much evidence as possible to prove that Ivanhilde had really died without a trace, so as to completely dispel Lucius' concerns.

Otherwise, the quest would be reassigned to him again and again.

To Char, was there anything that could be more interesting than this?

So he immediately burst out with unprecedented enthusiasm and swore that even if there was a single strand of Ivanhilde's hair somewhere, he would find it and send it to the Queen...

In the end, he had indeed located a clue and had received the most generous reward in this series of quests —a personal audience with the Queen.

lightsnοvεl

This was also the first time he had ever encountered the Queen, Lucius firsthand.

But what he did not expect was that his first encounter with the Queen would result in a one-stop service of assassination and corpse disposal...

Even the reputation that he had built up for so long had been reset, and the resurrection point in Andaheim had been cleared as well...

It was f*cking ridiculous!

From then on, he started to dig deeper into this matter. It was also because of this that he learned about the history of Copper Street and what happened to Evelyn, which only resulted in more and more gains for him.

Of course, what surprised Shaya the most was Ivanhilde's return.

When it came to understanding Ivanhilde, if Char claimed to be the number 2 expert in this subject, then no one else had the right to claim first place. In other words, Char was the most knowledgeable in all matters pertaining to Ivanhilde.

And with this reputation of his at stake, he was willing to bet that Ivanhilde was as dead as dead could be.

He knew the time, place, method of death and the arrangements before Ivanilde's death even better than Lucius. He even joined the Church of Judgement in some of the previous iterations to find out more about the political manipulation plan known as the "Dark Moon".

Even the church archives record the words "Ivanhilde is dead, the plan has failed."

In order to confirm that this was not a smokescreen released by the United Holy Kingdom, he even gave a scare to the higher-ups of the organization, and he was just shy of asking Frey directly on what exactly had transpired.

But now, a character who was clearly dead and had no possibility of being revived had appeared in front of Lucius once more...

There was only one possibility.

"There's likely a misunderstanding here. Is it possible that it is not that Ivanhilde has been revived, but rather an identical 'Ivanhilde' has appeared? " Char asked.

Lucius hesitated, saying, "I'm not sure which situation it is specifically...I can only say that both situations are equally possible."

"Both are possible?"

Char was dumbfounded.

"So how did you get the news?"

"I didn't receive any news... I've seen him with my own eyes."

Lucius frowned.

"You know, I didn't launch operation Pleasure Palace this time..."

"And?"

"About three months ago, I suddenly had the idea of going to the Pleasure Palace to take a look."

"Pleasure Palace..."

Char recalled an underground palace in the northwest of the Lugo Kingdom.

It was the paradise of the Lupa people in the past, but the nightmare of the present.

The Lupa people were a branch of humans and a complicated ethnic group that connected the Northern Red Grasslands, Andaheim, and Arendelle several hundred years ago. They were deemed complicated because they were not recognized by any of the above nations and became a marginalized ethnic group as a result.

The Pleasure Palace had been built long ago when the elves were the main power of the continent. It was a famous underground palace. Later, as the humans began to rule over the continent, and when the Light Elves exiled the Drows, the Lupas dug down along the Pleasure Palace in an attempt to open up the boundary between the surface and the underground, making the old capital a transportation hub between the two worlds.

They had a good plan, but they lacked political foresight ...

How could the United Holy Kingdom and the Elfheim allow such behavior? The two sides then joined forces to use forbidden curses to send Pleasure Palace underground, and the Lupa people lost their stronghold and became true orphans.

However, Pleasure Palace had also become a part of Andaheim due to this.

Ivanhilde's final safe house was in Pleasure Palace. In other words, it was his final resting grounds.

The "Pleasure Palace Operation" that Lucius mentioned should have happened not long after the game's launch. Based on her behavior in the previous iterations, she would have conducted a search there.

In the past, this plotline ended with the destruction of Pleasure Palace, but this time, Lucius had retained some of her memories, memories related to Char. She believed with utmost certainty regarding Ivanhilde's death, and so, she did not conduct the operation.

The "three months" timeline that Lucius brought up also made for an interesting point.

It coincided with the game's first maintenance.

Lucius continued, "At that time, I received some information about you from the surface, and I suddenly had the idea of going to see it."

"And then?"

"But there was nothing there." She said with a serious expression.

Char was shocked, "Empty? No warts, poisonous insects, birds, or beasts?"

"None of them."

"Ah?"

Char was stunned.

Ivanhilde was a man that dealt with poison extensively. Even though he was obliterated into ashes by Lucius in previous iterations, the area around Pleasure Palace was still barren, and most forms of flora was unable to survive there...

However, his death had given birth to a special plant, a Gray-handle Wart.

These plants were shaped like gray nails of different sizes. They grew everywhere around Pleasure Palace, and attracted various sorts of poisonous fauna to live there. As a result, the ruined palace surprisingly housed a rich and independent ecosystem.lightsnovel

But now, there was nothing there...

"Could it be that someone deliberately..."

"That's impossible."

Lucius shook her head, "I investigated several villages close to there, but didn't find anything unusual... And around a month ago, at the Blue Moon Festival, I spotted him in the crowd."

"I'm pretty sure it was him, but strangely, he didn't seem to recognize me, and... and he looked vacant and had a rigid expression."

"But it seemed like my gaze caught his attention, and that guy looked back at me... and at the moment our eyes met, I was sure he showed a hint of killing intent towards me, but he was quickly engulfed by the crowd."

"So, you mean... he also regained his memory?"

"Probably."

Pavilion recalled,

Lucius recalled, "I was very afraid at that time, so I immediately had him located and sent out two teams of Shadow Samurais to deal with him in secret."

"But... the members of that team never returned. And not only that, when their bodies were later found, they had been treated in the same way as the 'Copper Street' incident... While Ivanhilde disappeared as if he had evaporated into thin air, never to be seen again."

She took a deep breath and slowly exhaled.

"Since then, I haven't slept peacefully for a month straight..."

Char realized, "So, that's why you went along with the army that was headed towards Ravesland?"

"That's right. I originally thought his return was related to me, but now..."

She looked at Char.

"He is likely coming for me."

The latter seemed to be deep in thought.

He quickly outlined the whole situation in his mind.

The intervention of the Holy Spirit...

Death and resurrection...

NPCs who died in the plot...

Walking corpses like puppets...

If all of these threads could be connected, then this underground journey would not be as simple as changing the course of the plot. It seemed to be something major.

It appears that the Holy Spirit was not just facing him head-on.

Not only was he plotting in secret... The Holy Spirit holds the blueprint of the past hundred cycles and controls a massive organization as the United Holy Kingdom, and as such it is impossible for them not to make any moves. The seeds they planted during the last maintenance have now come to fruition.

The only thing that kept them in check was the system.

But from what Char had gathered, a "maintenance" was more like a downtime of the system. Whenever it happened, the Holy Spirit would take advantage of the system's loopholes, such as integrating the player's data, or controlling the life and death of the NPCs.

The resurrection of Ivanhilde and Copper Street may be even more important than the Supreme Holy Spirit itself.

Perhaps this was Prisilia's trump card, the trump card of the Holy Spirit.

Char's eyes were filled with excitement.

Things were getting more and more interesting.

Seeing that he was not nervous or afraid at all, Lucius felt a twinge of melancholy.

After coming face to face with the Giant, as well as witnessing Char personally turning the situation around, she began to understand more and more about the entity that Char was going against.

The disappearance of the Blue Moon, the appearance of Ravesland, and the changes that had taken place in Evelyn's body...

A world reset, extraordinary powers... And an old enemy who had been resurrected.

The vague memories from the past gradually become clearer, depicting frozen frames, which are so clear but seemingly out of reach.

It was as if a predetermined fate has been ruthlessly thrown away by time, telling her that there is only one path to take at present.

She tried to fight back, but she could only sink deeper and deeper.

When she thought of this, she was filled with a sense of helplessness.

"Thank you for the information, it's very important," Char smiled at her. "Leave the rest to me."

As she looked at his smile, Lucius was momentarily lost in thought.

...

...

In the outskirts of the Blue Moon County, Three River Plains.

In the outskirts of the Blue Moon County, on the Three River Plains, lies the most turbulent part of the Aisuna River, which splits into three to flow deeper underground. The surging rapids crash and shatter into a waterfall, earning the name of "the Valley of Life and Death."

In less than half a day, the majority of the Dark Elves' troops had departed from the ruins of Ravesland and arrived at the nearest location to the Buried Moon Mountain Ridge.

The disappearance of the Blue Moon gave the fluorescent plants, which had always lacked a sense of presence, a stage. Their dim light illuminated the purple-black withered grass, which was then trampled underfoot by the neat steps. The whistling of the night wind was also drowned out by the sound of the footsteps resonating into the distance. Only the rushing of the river was loud and clear.

The composition of the troop and even their formation remained the same as the one Joshua had led before. However, the atmosphere was entirely different.

The difference was in their temperament.

Their temperament was entirely different...

The previous team had been attacked by a Giant, and was constantly shaken by power struggles, their morale was so low that it could be called a dead army, not to mention their betrayal of their fellow countrymen.

But now, the entire team followed orders strictly and were disciplined. A solemn atmosphere spontaneously arose.

Did Joshua use cheats?

The only variable that had changed in their situation was the return of Joshua.

But was that possible?

It was clearly impossible.

The Prince's ability was incapable of commanding such an earth-shattering change.

Suddenly, an order drowned out the sound of running water and pierced through the murderous air.

"Stop."

A cold female voice spread out via a sound amplification spell. Everyone who heard this voice trembled and stiffly stopped in their tracks.

A soldier's movement was half a beat slower than his peers, and his face instantly turned pale.

Cold sweat trickled down his sideburns and flowed down his cheeks to his collar. His body trembled even more violently...

It's over...

It's over...

"You're half a beat too slow."

A gray figure came to his side. The voice was hoarse and did not sound like a human at all.

"You know what to do, right?"

"Plop!"

The soldier fell to the ground, curled up in fear, and even started crying.

"I...I was wrong...I was wrong..."

"You're useless..."

The gray figure sneered and drifted away silently.

Soon, two soldiers came and carried away their terrified companion. Not long after, the sound of a heavy object being thrown into the water came from behind the group.

This sound pounded in the hearts of all the dark elf soldiers, reminding them of the Draconian methods and the blood-stained black earth they had witnessed not long ago...

They all understood why the group had taken a detour to come to the Valley of Life and Death, and why they had stopped briefly here.

The sound of the body being thrown into the water was only just the beginning. Then, the sounds of impact continued one after another like dumplings being dropped into a pot of boiling water.

After around a hundred or so splashes, the lazy woman in charge gave the order to continue marching.

The night wind blew, unable to disperse the sound of rushing water, but it did dissipate the accumulated blood.