As the deaf effect ran out, the true terror of the minstrel’s curse started to surface and was causing chaos as soon as a person started to speak and the warning message, about nine out of ten sentences being either nonsense or the opposite of our intended speech, wasn’t an understatement. One after another had to found out that they couldn’t have a normal conversation anymore and their faces grew darker by the minute. After all how are they supposed to communicate while adventuring the vast world of Mirage of Eternity like this? Needless to say there was still one person enjoying this situation and having fun with this newly added “feature”…
“Keruna, I ate a cat with a cactus today. Woah, this blessing sure is annoying!”, said Sion with an amused face while I could only painfully smile back.
Sion… I don’t know how you can eat a cat with a cactus and I really wonder what you actually wanted to say in your first sentence but the second one probably was something like “Wow, this curse sure is amazing!”, which I can’t agree to.
While others slowly despaired over the situation, Sion was occupied with having fun speaking nonsense. I slowly came up with a despicable idea, an idea which would probably make me fall from Sions favour for a while but it would be for his own good in the end, after all he can’t participate in larger events as he was. He would miss out on some of Mirage of Eternity’s most fun events. No it’s totally unrelated with me showing my sadistic side or helping Keradis out, or at least I try to convince myself of this. With a seemingly wicked smile growing, I tried my best to hold back an evil chuckle and set my plan into motion. Of course, unlike Sion, I chose my words very carefully because of the curse and spoke out the opposite of the intended meaning so it gets reversed into what I actually wanted to convey.
“Sion? You want to join my guild, the Emissaries of the Abyss, right?”
With my smile turning to its peak of wickedness I waited for Sions automatic reaction. Needless to say I asked him dozens of times so he had the habit of refusing instantly without a second thought and this will make my mission of “making Sion accept the guild invitation” a success.
As expected he replied with his usual answer but…
“Yes, sure. Uh, definitely?! Yes, I mean yes…aaah!!!”
…he fell right into my trap and every no he said was reversed! It only took a second for the guild message regarding him being a new member of the Emissaries of the Abyss to pop up.
Sion joined your guild.
Of course he received the detailed version of the “not being able to quit the guild for a whole month” message as well. With a shocked impression on his face and his mouth opening and closing like a fish because of the unexpected events, he tried to process what actually happened. Not long after I received a death glare, he started to swear at me which was turned into praises, except his last word which marked the tenth sentence count by the system.
“You wonderful person, there’s no one nicer than you! You angel, no you god! I really love you. I really want to hug you right now. Bastard!!!”
Realising that only his last curse wasn’t changed his face grew even darker while my wicked smile turned into an amused one. During the time Sion swore, my other guild members of course noticed the good news as well and Keradis instantly used the guild chat to greet his newest member.
“Great work, Keruna! Welcome to our guild Sion. I was really worried that you’ll never accept our invitation but I’m really glad that you changed your mind.”
Keradis sure knows how to add salt to an open wound without him actually having any ill intentions. And once more Sion hadn’t learned from his previous mistake and replied by habit instead of speaking after thinking thoroughly about it.
“Yes, I changed my mind.”
By now I had a hard time holding back my laughter but I managed to explain the situation to Keradis with the same reverse thinking technique as before…well at least mostly that is. It works wonders, adding a “not” to get the sentences reversed to it’s intended version but the city name was a lost cause and some nonsense got added.
“Keradis, do you remember the NPC you told me about in Deflea City? It really was the start of an event. Right now we’re cursed for an hour and our words are either reversed or turned into nonsense. I’ve a hard time speaking right now so you can understand it. I used this to trick Sion. The event will start in 7 days after the curse is lifted. Ride a pig into the desert.”
By now Sion had given up speaking and just silently gave me resentful stares. The guild chat turned silent for a few seconds, probably because of ‘Deflea’ City and my last sentence made up by the system. The first one to speak was our vice-guildmaster – a priest of the plant race, one of the nature races and probably the race with the most varied appearances of all. Due to his hobby of gardening he decided to play as a plant and chose the appearance of a cactus.
“Welcome Sion. If you’ve any questions don’t hesitate to ask us. I think it’s better to do the introductions later when your curse is lifted, so I’ll keep it short. I’m the vice-guildmaster here and in charge of healing, my name is Emeralda. Uhm…about the event. We have to ride pigs to a desert?”
“I never heard about any pig mounts. Could it be a special event mount? Oh right, I’m Asterdon, a werewolf, and belong to the Guardian class, we will probably see each other quite often because I’m one of the rare tanks in our guild.”
It was hard for me to not facepalm right now but it looks as if the nonsense-sentence was taken seriously by my fellow guild members. It was high time to stop them before they start looking for non-existing pig mounts, or worse looking for pink flying pigs.
“It was one of the nonsense sentences. We really have to ride pigs to a desert.”
Shit! I forgot about the tenth sentence not getting reversed!
And while it was now Sions turn to laugh, I hurriedly fixed my prior mistake.
“We don’t have to ride any pigs, sorry about the prior confusion… Let us speak at a later time about this when the curse is lifted.”
No one was against this proposal. I then agreed with a Sion who was still sulking, to go to my house and eat something there until the hour passed.
After we ate the sushi Sion somehow prepared in my kitchen, the curse was finally lifted and the previously silent Astral Knight started to voice his anger again as we sat on opposite ends of my wooden table.
“I knew you can be a real bastard at times but I never thought you’d go as far as taking advantage of such a crazy situation. You know that I didn’t want to join any guilds”, said the Astral Knight while shooting me a sharp glare.
“Sorry, but you would have never agreed otherwise and the guild isn’t that bad. You don’t have to participate in guild events if you don’t want to but you really miss out on a lot without one. There are many bigger events and with a guild it’s much easier to participate. Not to mention the guild internal support like crafted items, information and faster results in finding a party for quests.”
Sion was still dissatisfied for a while but then he heaved a sigh and seemed to accept his fate for now. I don’t have to worry for a month, but after that it may be hard to keep him in the guild but I’ll think about it when that happens. When we were speaking I suddenly had the urge to eat something sweet and remembered the lollipop which the ogre dropped not too long ago. I opened the item window, selected the lollipop and it appeared in front of me.
I instantly put it into my mouth and enjoyed the sweet taste. When I looked up I received a gaze of amazement from Sion. This made me shoot him a questioning expression as a reply.
“After eating sushi you can still eat this lollipop as dessert?”, he asked while shaking his head in disbelief.
Is there a law against me eating it after sushi or something? Seriously, sometimes I can’t understand him. Is it because he’s a cook? And it’s not that I ate that much sushi in the first place or does he more refer to the different taste after eating sushi…?
I shrugged my shoulders and continued enjoying my dessert until a system message popped up.
The consummation effect will be active for an hour. Because of your accumulated hideous crimes and evil acts, you’ll receive ‘divine retribution’.
You can’t decline the next quest offer.
It was the first time for me to suffer ‘divine retribution’. Until now I had only heard about this effect getting triggered when your evilness stat rises to a certain amount but I knew that it would show up sooner or later because of my race and profession as an assassin. I was a bit surprised as it showed up after eating a mere lollipop though. At this point I completely forgot about the description text of the lollipop and had never expected this effect to have any negative impacts for me. After all I usually accept any quest I encounter.
Before I could give it any deeper thoughts someone knocked on my door. I slowly stood up from my chair and went over to the door. The moment I opened it, I instantly regretted my action and tried to slam it shut again but I was too slow. In the next moment an NPC belonging to the same race as my Twilight Assassin, slipped skillfully into my house! The intruder instantly kneeled down like a loyal knight in front of his lord and began to recite the words I least wanted to hear right now. Meanwhile Sion whose interest was piqued by this action approached slowly and observed the uncommon scene.
“I’m honored to meet you once more, honorable warrior of our renowned race. Since our last meeting your mighty presence has grown even more and your name has gained more prominence. Thus this lowly Tian, whose life you saved long ago, once more asks you to get rid of the traitorous knight and his allies who killed my previous master and my fellow comrades. When we first met you had to decline my request because you feared you would fail my expectations and weren’t strong enough. But now that your name has such prominence, I came to seek you out again. I, Tian, am the last of my clan and I found no other demon who would even in the slightest compare to your might. So I beseech thee once more to slay these dishonorable creatures who bring nothing but shame upon our race and claim the currently free position of demon lord. There is no other demon more worthy of this position than the famous Twilight Assassin Keruna.”
While Sion eyes widened by surprise, my own widened because of the sheer terror which these words inflicted. I once successfully managed to decline this quest and avoid financial ruin but now the tables turned and thanks to the divine retribution effect there was no way out of this miserable situation anymore. This truly is divine retribution! Is this what people call karma? Is this the payback for making Sion join my guild?
I really felt like falling down a deep black hole, called despair, with no return and then ‘it’ appeared, the confirmation message which signed my accounts in-game bankruptcy.
The divine retribution effect was triggered. You automatically will accept this quest. You’re unable to cancel this quest until it failed or is successfully completed.
You accepted the quest “Tian’s plea for help”.
Tian’s plea for help
The young demon knight Tian is the sole survivor of a great tragedy. His fellow comrades and his previous lord were slain by a traitor and his allies, before Tian even could pledge his loyalty. As the last survivor of his clan he was searching for a honourable and powerful demon who can avenge his brethren and would ascend the throne as the new demon lord of Tians birthplace. He once witnessed your power when you saved his life. From this day onwards he secretly swore his loyalty to you and eagerly awaits the day he can serve a mighty demon like you.
Rewards upon completion:
You’ll earn the title and position of a local demon lord and will receive some land from the demon races territory to govern over and protect your countries citizens from the threat of ascending heroes.
Penalty upon failure:
Your intimacy with your other demons will plummet and it will be hard to regain your lost fame. Due to mistrust you’ll receive fewer quests and the rewards will worsen.
Completion requirements: Tians survival and the death of the traitor.
Failure requirements: Tian dies.
Note: You can seek help from up to 5 other players to help you complete the quest.
At this point it was hard to decide if the failure or the completion of the quest had the worse outcome. If I fail the quest my intimacy with the demon race will fall a lot, which is a really bad outcome for myself. As a demon my intimacy with many races is naturally low but I also never put a lot of effort behind rising any intimacy with NPC in the first place. Losing the only race with whom I have a high intimacy would be a catastrophe. After all I like questing a lot and with rewards dropping, provided I even manage to get a quest, as well as higher prices in shops and repair costs increasing, it was just a nightmare imagining this situation. Not to mention my dropping fame. As an Assassin, a dark profession, my infamy is already very high. While this is good for interacting with dark races or NPCs with a similar dark profession, it’s bad for interacting with any other races and professions. And if I’m forced to increase my intimacy with the latter group after failing the quest it will be a long and hard way to accomplish this.
On the other side if I successfully complete the quest I’ve a different kind of problem, a financial one. Being a demon lord and ruling over a castle is a very costly task. First off, you’ve to constantly improve or repair your castle, which can consume a lot of money, it also depends heavily on the castles state before a player takes it over. Secondly you have to pay your subordinates and their equipment. It’s possible to raise taxes on the surrounding villages and the usage of buildings like taverns and selling items in shops which are produced by your underlings but you have to continuously pour money into improving the villages and invest in them. If you make too many mistakes you can easily get bankrupt and in the worst case your underlings will rebel against you.
Furthermore you also have to invest a lot of effort into protecting your territory from other demon lords, be it NPCs or other users, and the archenemies of every demonlord – heroes! While the demonlords can take away some of your land, the heroes can earn a lot of fame and also unlock some rare skills of their class by killing demon lords. Of course killing another player instead of an NPC brings them more of the so called “hero points” to unlock said skills and earn fame. So the few players who actually dared to accept the demon lord position are the number one goal of every hero. Luckily there are only a few people who were able to obtain the hero class, which belongs to the same hidden class category as my Twilight Assassin but their mere existence means that I’ve to be very careful to not run into one while journeying in Mirage of Eternity. I would instantly end up as their prime target! It would be the same as running around with a target mark on my armour.
Their information network is quite good as well. On our companies forum they have their own thread dedicated to listing all demon lords and their territories’ location, including news about spotting players outside their demon lord territory with screenshots of what they look like. These heroes truly are a fearsome existence…
I don’t feel like getting swarmed by heroes and end up dead while shopping inside of Crea City or while questing inside a dungeon. And even on your own land you aren’t safe. They often form parties with their friends and raid your expensive and painstakingly built castle, not to mention the NPC subordinates you paid and raised who get butchered on the way to your throne room.
In short, being a demon lord only brings about misfortune in my eyes. Even more so when you’re an assassin. My attack power may be high and I could play a game of hide and seek for a long time but my defence is quite low in return and I’m weak against the holy element which heroes tend to wield. The only few players who can successfully be demon lords until now were from classes with high defences and a lot of HP.
While I grieved over making the best decision in this unfortunate situation and was wondering about what I should do to minimize the damage, Sion was already in high spirits as he only saw the rare chance for a player to occupy some land in Mirage of Eternity. Of course he didn’t know about the bad sides or being a demon lord…
“Amazing! Keruna you can be a demon lord in Mirage of Eternity and rule over a territory?! This is truly awesome! Can I help you with this quest?”
Before I could even answer and inform him about the downsides of this quest, Tian stood up with a determined face, now that the quest was accepted thanks to the divine retribution effect, and faced Sion.
“You’re a comrade of my master? If he wishes for you to participate on his conquest this won’t be any problem, I would be honoured to fight alongside my masters friend.”
Wait? When did I agree at you serving me?! I can’t remember signing any master-servant contract here?! I only was forced to accept this quest, there was no mention of getting a servant before I finish the quest. Does this mean the system already calculated in advance that I’m most likely to accomplish the quest?!
And just a brief second later I received a new system message.
You shared your quest with your party member Sion.
Upon completion you can appoint other players special positions on your territory to help you govern it and lead your troops into battle. Player who are in your party and participate in the quest will automatically receive a general position and earn the title “Demon Army Leader”.
At first I felt a bit angry for the quest being shared automatically with a single question by Sion, but then I saw some light in my desperate situation. I can appoint other players to specific positions! Finally there is some hope for me, I can use this loophole to decrease not only my financial problem but also raise my castles defence, I just have to drag the whole guild over to the castle! The only thing needed is a good excuse and luckily there was one. Keradis was looking for a new guild building because our old one was too small already and I doubt he would decline a whole castle as a possible replacement for it! Talk about being fortunate in an unfortunate situation…
Now that I decided to clear this quest in hope that the damage on completion would be less than the damage from failing, I set off followed by our new companion the demon NPC Tian who was also added to our party, to start our journey to the territory of Tian’s prior lord. But after walking a few meters a new system message popped up, the worst message I received today!
Meanwhile somewhere in the deep northern lands of Mirage of Eternity, in a “still by players to be discovered” ruin, two black skeletons rise from the ground cloaked in expensive robes with crown like hats surrounding their skulls. When they were fully emerged and floating a few centimeters above the ground, their eye sockets glowed an ominous red, marking their full awakening. One was cloaked in a black robe with violet highlights, the other one was wearing a black robe with red highlights. These two skeletons weren’t the usual skeletons a player would normally encounter in Mirage of Eternity. They were the lich twins Shir’ka, the amethyst death, and Shei’ka, the ruby death. Befitting their names, Shir’ka wore a necklace with a big-sized amethyst at the middle of his chest, while Shei’ka had a ruby attached to his own necklace. Both liches floatingly moved over the ground with an elegance, which could only be encountered outside of the living world. While Shir’ka was closing and opening his skeletal hands to test his bodily movements, Shei’ka was already occupied with removing the last dust spots on his robe.
“Kekeke, looks like we can start the mission, Shei’ka.“
Done with brushing off all dust the mighty Shei’ka moved his body towards the direction of his twin Shir’ka and could only give an evil laugh fitting for a true lich in reply.
”Indeed, all preparations are done. Let us cloak these lands in darkness!“
Shir’ka nodded and summoned a black book whose cover had gold letters from an ancient language on it.
“The God of Death is demanding the destruction of the mortal realm.Rise, our loyal servants. Rise from your slumber and sow death. Bring eternal darkness over the mortals and don’t spare a single soul. Hate all living beings and praise the God of Death. Let us destroy to our hearts contents!“
With these words the book glowed in a purple light and the ground began to tremble as the twins’ army slowly awakened from their long slumber and poured from the Underworld into the realm of the living. At this point the sky over the ruins of northern lands turned into an ominous dark-purplish color which began to extend southwards. Far away in Crea City the players could observe the sky darkening from the far north. Slowly, but steadily the darkness moved towards the city and a message popped up for all players in the vicinity of Crea City.
Event: Darkness Awakening
The army of the twin liches Shir’ka and Shei’ka has risen from its eternal slumber and is moving towards Crea City, the holy city of life! Within seven days, death will approach the gates of the city. Before the army breaks through and turns the city of life into a city of death, you have to slay the twin liches at all costs. Unlike their army who’ll try to break through the gates and walls of Crea City to sow death and destruction to support their masters, the twins will appear with the help of ancient magic at the church to start their conquest by occupying the revival spot. Upon death you can’t revive within the quest duration.
Brave adventurers, brace yourself and fight for your survival and the future of Crea City before it turns into a City of Death!
Event begin: 7 days from this point onwards
The quest will succeed if both lich twins, Shir’ka and Shei’ka, are sent back to the Underworld once more.
The quest will fail if one of them “survives“. Crea City will then be turned into the city of darkness and death, the Necropolis, ruled by the lich twins!
Reward upon completion:
A super-rare legendary weapon (only to the people who defeat the lich twins) and the chance to unlock a new special class!
Necromancers can then change their class from “necromancer” to “lich” if they fulfill the requirements.
Contribution points which can be exchanged for equipment and other useful items.
Note: Everyone is invited to join this huge melee battle against the twins and their army. The people who are left standing after the quest will receive a legendary weapon befitting their class! You can form parties, play with your whole guild, or alone. Just make sure to survive and have fun fighting these new major boss monsters of level 200!
It’s the first time since launching the game that we let such high level monsters loose, don’t miss this historic chance to face the first level 200 boss class monsters to ever appear in Mirage of Eternity~
But be careful, their attacks are strong, their life source is large and their teamwork is top notch! You can also witness the future path high-level necromancers can take, the path to become a fearful lich.
The recommended level for the fight against the liches is above level 75, their attack power was adjusted to the lower level of players but players under level 75 will be instantly wiped out by a single attack.
Everyone under level 75 are advised to partake in defending the city from the advancing army and prevent them from entering. You can collect points with every killed monster which can be traded for helpful in-game items, ranging from consumables over equipment, special items and quest items. The legendary weapons will only be handed out to the brave people who succeed in slaying the lich twins.
Event Hoster: The CEO’s of Night Dragon Corporation =D
The players near Sion and myself all showed a surprised look with eyes widening at each line. They finally broke into cheers and the same happened around the whole area inside and outside of Crea City! The last time such a large scale event was held, was already two months ago when Mini-Fienja appeared but this time even a new special class route could be set free over the successful completion of the event, together with earning a legendary weapon. This was the first time legendary weapons would get distributed to the players since the game launched. Not to mention the level 200 monsters which no one encountered yet and the possibility to raise ones exp like crazy upon defeating such strong monsters, the first ever held level 200 boss monster fight, also heated the mood.
While the players around me, including my teammate Sion, cheered and were looking forward to the event, I could only pale in an instant. And after reading thrice who the event hosts were, my prior good mood of avoiding a disaster did a 180 degree turn.
Anything but them…please… This will be hell for sure! That can’t be a normal boss fight. And Lich twins…? I bet the two natural disasters will be the ones playing these two Liches personally. God, what did they plan this time… Wait and there’s even a whole army of undead?! Will the game turn from Mirage to Eternity to “Advent of the Death” or “Mirage of Apocalypse”? Seriously, what are they thinking? Are they even thinking?! And what do they mean with Crea City will turn into a city of darkness and dead? Will I lose my house I bought here in Crea city?!
While I was sinking further and further into despair, Sion was already eager to participate and his eyes were literally sparkling. Who could not understand it? Two amazing quests in a short period of time for him, while my situation is the complete opposite and I would prefer to flee far away.
“Keruna, we’ll be in one team right? Now that you forced me into your guild we can also invite Keradis, right? I mean he’s an expert in regards to undead creatures, after all he’s a necromancer himself and…Keruna?“
Sion looked puzzled at my face which was as pale as a white sheet, while I was in a daze because I imagined my future work schedule filled by additional hours piled upon additional hours of fixing due to my superiors whims.
“Are you okay? You somehow look ill. If you don’t feel well, why don’t you log out for a while?“
Only now I realised that Sion spoke to me and I slowly shook my head. After all there was no way I can log out now… I have to finish the demon lord quest as fast as possible and rebuild the castle so I can move my home to the castle and abandon my house in Crea City before it gets destroyed. It’s better to sell it now before that ominous army reaches the city. Once they stand in front of it there is no way I’ll find a buyer for my house…
Why now of all things? They really do have the worst timing. I probably have to log out in a few hours though. After this system message there will probably be a new meeting of the “DDF”, the Disaster Defence Force, and I as a member have to be present there. It’s the only way for us employees to at least try to decrease the damage caused by our superiors and we have to discuss and plan the countermeasures which would take a long time. The chairman of the DDF probably needs a few hours to find out who was in charge of programming and designing the liches for our superiors. Until the data is collected I should have some time to at least go near the old demon lords territory. The meeting is probably after our working hours are over.
“Keruna? Are you really alright?”
Sion started to wave his hand infront of my eyes because I was still lost in my thoughts and didn’t reply to him. I really don’t want to make him worry about me but I really may end up in a hospital sooner or later thanks to my superiors. With a lot of mental effort and my poor little house in Crea City in mind, I somehow forced myself to divert my attention back on Sion.
“Sion, I probably have to log out in a few hours, I’ll receive an in-game message from a co-worker… Until then let us go as far as possible in the direction of the castle but before that I have to visit a real-estate agent and sell my house.”
Sion fell silent for a short while and I started to explain my reasons behind my actions.
“If this event fails and the city gets destroyed, no even if it succeeds but my house gets destroyed, I lose it forever and have to pay a lot of money to rebuild it. Before this happens I have to sell it and try to make the demon lords castle my new home instead.”
Now Sion seemed to understand my situation a bit, though it was just the tip of the iceberg. We didn’t waste any more time and headed to the real-estate agent NPC to sell my house. Luckily all of the few items and furniture of my house was transferred to the magical house moval storage. This transfer system is a true blessing, like this there is no need to move anything and it can easily be placed however I want in my new home. It working is similar to normal magical item storage bags or the bank system which everyone uses to store their personal belongings and money. But as expected I met a few of my co-workers who all hurriedly tried to sell their real-estates at the highest possible price. Everyone was so busy focusing on this that we didn’t even have time to feign ignorance over each other’s identity because we all were on short time. After all, the longer it takes to sell, the more the real-estate price will fall in the face of an impending war against hordes of undead creatures. I was one of the first ones to arrive so we went outside of the building before the next wave of the Night Dragon Corporation employees came. This City was once a very popular place to own a house in our company but these times seemed to be over and we would all have to find a new place to live our in-game lives peacefully.
With this taken care of we didn’t waste any more time and set out onto our journey to avenge Tian’s comrades and take over the castle for our own selfish reasons.
Proofreader: ATK-49 & Weni