SPACE 5. Mystery of the Stone Mountain
“Pant pant pant, understood. Stop scolding me so much.”
“Ah, why are you annoyed?”
“Damn, why wouldn’t I be?”
“I’m just playing around. You didn’t know something like that?”
“Who? I knew it!”
A rough voice suddenly said. And Milan withdrew with surprise.
“Wah! What a surprise. Phew, your face really doesn’t make any sense.”
“Hey, what? What did you say? Do you think I’m doing this because I want to?”
Ark snapped angrily and scowled at Milan. Ark’s fact was completely different from a while ago. He had slit eyes, puffy cheeks and buckteeth! Naturally this wasn’t Ark’s original face. Once again, Ark was a celebrity. He appeared a few times on broadcast and he looked the same in New World so there were a lot of people who knew his face. When he created a character in Galaxian, he played around like a three year old using play dough. Ark’s face looked different because of the Hyde Helmet! The Hyde Helmet was a special helmet that could change the name and face that other players saw. Milan was looking at the ugly face that he created the first time he called himself Alan in Charem. In fact, Ark hadn’t been thinking about creating an ugly face. This was a face he made in a hurry. However once a name was registered to a face, it wasn’t possible to change it.
‘I don’t care what other people see when they look at me……’
The reason Ark was using the Hyde Helmet was due to the previous incident. He had encountered Valencia out of the blue and suddenly entered a battle. He was slightly embarrassed by Milan’s reaction but this situation meant Ark couldn’t pay a lot of attention to it. Wearing this meant that it was possible for Ark to avoid any fights. Yet his appearance made even Milan look slightly handsomer.
‘I was worried for Hyung-nim and now his appearance is like this.’
But that idea didn’t continue for long.
“Hey, there’s that guy?”
“That’s right. He’s still hanging around?”
“Even if he didn’t want to be killed, isn’t it too much begging for his life? It would’ve been better to just die. If he is so afraid to die then why did he come into the Outlands?”
“Leave it. There might be some circumstances.”
He called his place a village but it was actually just a place where users and NPCs gathered. The stores of the NPCs lined up only reached several hundred metres. Rumours would spread through this place in an instant. And the original rumour wasn’t preserved but became ever more exaggerated. Now the rumour was that Ark grabbed the hem of Valencia’s pants and begged for his life while crying. He wasn’t a person that could endure this. That’s why Ark used the Hyde Helmet. He was embarrassed!
“But why did you act like that?”
“I was just worried about Hyung-nim……”
Ark stabbed Milan’s chest with his fingers.
“Did you think I would be stepped on? I don’t like that thought.”
“But the opponent is Valencia of Beltana’s armoured platoon.”
“I told you. He is just a child.”
“But he isn’t weak.”
“Aha, you’re saying that I’m still weaker than someone from the federation even though I’m Beltana’s Hero?”
“No, I know that Hyung-nim has become stronger……”
“But I’ll be stepped on by Valencia?”
“That’s not what I mean. Why do you have to twist my words?”
“Sorry. Because I don’t like being called weak.”
Ark retorted in a testy tone. However Ark was petulant for another reason. If he thought about it from Milan’s viewpoint, Ark naturally wasn’t someone who could beat Valencia. Ark also wasn’t sure about the prospect of success. And Ark wasn’t a character who would dwell on other people’s words. Of course it wasn’t a comfortable feeling but if he paid attention to everything said about him then how could he live in this inhospitable world? Besides, he had used the Hyde Helmet just now. If he walked with Milan then he would be recognizable even if he hid his face…..he hadn’t hid his original face to hide from the unpleasant looks. Ark’s petulance started to rise after he arrived at Mt. Fargo.
A few hours ago.
“This is larger than I thought now that I’m standing underneath it.”
Ark muttered as he looked up at Mt. Fargo. It wasn’t pleasant encountering Valencia but Ark had come here to find the Murat ruins. However he felt a stifling atmosphere now that he was actually looking up at the big mountain. That only thing Ark knew was that the Murat ruins were somewhere in Mt. Fargo.
“If it hasn’t been found yet then the probability that it is hidden somewhere in a cave is high……”
His mind was in a hurry but he knew that limiting the search scope was dangerous. He couldn’t limit the search range in case he missed it so he had to check everywhere precisely. In other words, entering the cave before he searched outside the mountains might make him miss it.
“I also have the same idea.”
Milan nodded his head.
“I don’t see any suspicious areas just looking at it. But if it at a visible place on the mountain or inside the cave then it would already be found by other users. In other words, it is in a place not exposed to the outside. That means it is highly likely that it is buried somewhere.”
Fargo was a large mountain. It was well over 200 metres in height? However, the mountain was a mountain. It didn’t matter if he could find it by looking around but it was a serious problem if buried. They couldn’t just dig blindly. That was when Milan’s ability as a treasure hunter came in handy.
“Huhuhu, it is my turn.”
Milan smiled and took out an iron rod in the shape of an ‘L.’ This was the secret weapon of the treasure hunter Milan, dowsing!
Item Type: For Searching (Related skill is necessary)
Sometimes a treasure hunter would face a situation where treasure is buried in an unknown location. Of course, such problems can be solved with advanced equipment but it isn’t always possible to carry that equipment around. However the ground can’t just be blinding dug at. Then something like dowsing rods will be needed.
The dowsing rod is the most affordable and easy to use exploratory device. If you grasp two iron rods in both hands and walk then it is okay. The iron rods will move and cross over when they find something. However, there is no scientific basis behind it.
* Accuracy will depend on the user’s skill proficiency.
It was a technique that sometimes appeared on TV.
‘But to use dowsing in the 24th century……’
There was no scientific evidence but it was better than blindly digging at the ground. When looking at it like that, Ark and Milan could be called a golden combination.
“I’m picking up something here!”
Milan’s dowsing rods had discovered something.
“Okay, get out of the way! Dadadadada!”
Ark grabbed his shovel and ran to the target spot. Mt. Fargo consisted mainly of rocks so digging wasn’t a problem for Ark whose skill had reached intermediate level. Small stones or large stones were split instantly. It was highly likely that something would emerge.
|-Old Metal Utensils
Item Type: Antique
Metal utensils made from outdated technology. It is believed that Istana’s indigenous people used it long before humans came here. However more antiques are useless except for their looks.
Well, that is for most of them……
‘The accuracy of dowsing is quite high. This will greatly reduce the search time!’
That wasn’t all. It was only trash but he had unearthed items that the indigenous people of Istana used. The odds that the Murat ruins were hidden somewhere became increasingly higher. His motivation also increased!
“Get out of the way!”
Pa pa pa pa!
“There’s something here!”
Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa!
“Here! Here! Here! Here too!”
Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa!
So he ran around the mountain for several hours.
‘Pant pant pant, this is strange. This is strange no matter how I think about it!’
Ark and Milan panted. They had run around the mountain for several hours digging pits. It was serious. Sweat dripped down his face into his armour. However Milan’s skin was dry compared to Ark.
“Hyung-nim, isn’t the weather quite cold?”
He was talking nonsense. It was natural. Ark had been shovelling alone for a couple of hours. In the meantime Milan had just been running around with his dowsing rods. At first he didn’t realize it because he was so focused on the Murat but Milan wasn’t shedding even one drop of sweat.
“Hey you! Why aren’t you digging?”
“I’ve never done it.”
“Aren’t you a treasure hunter? How did you find anything in the meantime?”
“Of course I used the auto excavator. But I was caught sneaking on the territory of a noble and all my equipment except for the 3D restoration machine was confiscated before I was sent to Beltana. Ah, I still have these dowsing rods as well.”
Milan answered as he walked around with the dowsing rods. The dowsing rods that moved in Milan’s hands….
“If you don’t know then learn! You don’t have an auto excavator now so start learning how to dig!”
Ark was his Hyung-nim so Milan took the shovel handed to him without any complaints. And that made Ark even angrier. That time when Ark was going pa pa pa pa! It was a cool sound when listening to it. However, Milan’s shovel went tick tick tick……
He didn’t drive in the shovel properly. Once again, Ark had dug a tunnel from Tori’s junkyard to the federal machine as well as the frozen ground on Beltana so his Dig skill had reached intermediate level. But Milan hadn’t formed the skill yet! Mt. Fargo was covered in rocks so the difficulty was too high for a beginner. It wasn’t good enough. The exploration had begun but there was no security that other users wouldn’t find the ruins. And hundreds of users were exploring Mt. Fargo and there was no guarantee he could find it. He needed to dig in order to find the ruins! It wasn’t the time to be playing around.
‘Dammit, I’m really suffering!’
“Just give it to me!”
In the end Ark couldn’t stand it anymore and took back the shovel. And once again dig! Dig! Dig!
‘Damn, wherever I go I can’t escape from digging.’
|-‘Dig’ has gained 1 experience.
-‘Dig’ has gained 1 experience…..
The messages that appeared once in a while were the only consolation.
“Hyung-nim, there is a response here!”
Ark cursed and wielded the shovel.
“Eh? What’s this?”
“Why are there holes all over the mountain?”
“There weren’t any yesterday. What the hell happened?”
The users looked at Mt. Fargo and muttered noisily. The appearance of Mt. Fargo had changed in one day. Originally Mt. Fargo had several caves running through it. But that had increased to over 100 in just one day. Of course, the number of caves hadn’t increased. The new pits were only 1~2 metres at most. The new holes looked different. This phenomenon was so mysterious that it stimulated the users’ curiosity.
“UFO! A UFO must’ve made the holes!”
“Don’t be silly. Why would there be UFO’s in the space pioneering age?”
“It’s probably caused be the foundation sinking down. There aren’t a lot of mountains in this cave. Please players use their guns and explosives on monsters in the cave so it is naturally for sinkholes to happen.”
“Doesn’t that mean the caves might also collapse?”
“That’s not it.”
Just as the users were thinking anxiously. One person stepped forward and said.
“It is because of a person. I saw it yesterday. Someone was carrying a shovel and digging at the land.”
“What? Then that person dug all the holes? Why?”
“Isn’t it clear? He thinks the gallstones are buried in the ground and is going around randomly digging.”
“That is ridiculous.”
“Yes, who would dig blindly even if items could be found? Besides, how can anyone create 100 holes in a day?”
“Isn’t that person really stupid?”
The users kept on buzzing noisily.
‘That stupid fellow is here!’
One user was angrily glaring at the back of their head. He was the one who dug holes in Mt. Fargo, Ark.
‘I have to find the ruins before others do!
This obsession was how he managed to dig 100 holes in one day. In fact, Ark hadn’t expected a lot. The ruins were very likely hidden somewhere in the cave. However, he couldn’t conclusively state that. The caves were also the aim of the users looking for gallstones. If the ruins hadn’t been found yet then he couldn’t ignore the possibility that it was hidden somewhere outside. Looking outside took less time than searching the complicated caves where monsters swarmed. Therefore he started his search outside first. But the result was a total failure. He spent one day digging and hadn’t found anything. Although that didn’t mean he got nothing.
|-The rating of the skill ‘Dig (Common Occupation ☆) has increased!
Dig (Master, Active): you have become a master at techniques using the shovel. You have mastered that tricks that will allow you to easily dig through solid, frozen ground or stone gravel. The callouses on your palm also proves what a wonderful worker you are.
<Digging speed increased by 100% and the chances of finding items and minerals also increased by 50%>
His intermediate dig skill had increased to an advanced level.
‘For Dig to be the first skill that reaches an advanced level……’
In fact, it was a natural thing. The stars attached to the skill weren’t just the degree of difficulty to acquire it. More stars meant it was harder to raise the proficiency. Dig was only one star so it had no choice but to go up quickly. Anyway, his speed at digging the land increased to 100%! That was the reason why Ark was able to fill the mountain with holes in just one day. That wasn’t all.
Of course, it wasn’t easy for Ark no matter how fast his digging increased. He dug everywhere that Milan indicated with the dowsing. He dug 100 holes and found 100 items. Of course, 90% of them were japtem but…..
|-Carmela’s Sword (Magic)
Item Type: Long Sword Wearer Restriction: Level 60
Attack: 35~45 Durability: 34/60
An ancient sword unearthed in Mt. Fargo.
Many ancient alien species have disappeared from the galaxy. Therefore excavating uncovers many weapons that the ancient warriors used. Sometimes they will be made with technology that is difficult for modern science to reproduce. This sword is made with excellent craftsmanship. Despite thousands of years passing since the weapon was created, it has a better performance than many present day weapons. It is still unknown how these ancient civilizations could produce such weapons.
<Strength +10, Stamina +5>
It was a magic grade level 60 sword!
‘It isn’t just japtem.’
He dug 100 holes so sometimes items like these would appear. But when compared to the magic grade long swords sold at the stores, the attack was a little low. If it was sold at an auction then h would probably only receive a price slightly better than a general long sword. But it was a weapon that Ark was eagerly waiting for. While Ark used the shotgun Fire Eagle, his secondary weapon to assist him was the level 10 dagger. In that situation he was extremely grateful for the level 60 magic sword! Even if 90% of the items found were japtem, it added up to at least 10 gold.
“Dowsing…..it is a surprisingly useful skill…..’
Ark looked at the snoring Milan near him. The Carmela’s Sword and other items he found were the result of digging all night. However, it wouldn’t be possible to find items if he just dug excessively at the land. Although 90% of it was crap, Milan’s dowsing skill meant he always found an item.
‘Dowsing can detect items buried it the ground and I can dig it up. This is similar to a skill combo. I’ll have to learn it once I finish this.’
But nothing in this world was free.
‘Damn, there isn’t anywhere on my body that hurts.’
The price he paid for the loot he found in one day was severe.
|-You have ‘muscular pain.’
This pain is caused by excessive muscular use.
<Strength, Agility and Stamina will decrease by 50% for 8 hours>
This happened despite his Dig skill. He hadn’t received this penalty while digging the underground tunnel because of breaks. Although he dug up frozen ground on Beltana, that was only during the scheduled times. However, his heart felt urgent and he dug for one full day without any rests. Milan was fine wandering around with iron rods while Ark received muscular pain from shovelling. Anyway!
‘I’ve already gone around the outside. Now there are only the caves left!’
This was the reason Ark came down to the village. According to the information he obtained, the lowest ranked monster in the Mt. Fargo caves was level 100. If he entered deeper than they would be more than level 150! Some even reached level 200. The service just started so the average level of most users were 60~70. Therefore a hunting party was required!
‘If a level 100 monster appears and I only have Milan……’
Right now he had muscular pain and his stats were reduced by 50%. Despite finishing searching outside and napping, he still had 1 hour left.
‘Besides, my purpose is to find the ruins not hunting. I can’t spend a lot of time defeating the monster. There is also no guarantee that only one monster will appear at once or that a level 150 monster won’t emerge. I have no choice but to find a party.’
Although his heart was reluctance, Ark confirmed the problems and knew he had no choice. However a party wasn’t that easy to obtain.
-Looking for a position. Level 80, the name is Alan, 1 NPC.
30 minutes had passed since the message was set up and there had been no hits yet. Therefore his annoyance started increasing.
A man wearing light armour approached. He sent a sharp glance towards the dozing Milan and asked quickly.
“Are you bringing the NPC along with you when hunting?”
“Yes, if it’s possible……”
“Then it will be hard to find a party. That’s because everybody is looking for the gallstones. So a party is created the minimum number required. More people in a party means the profit is lower. And the combat power of a NPC is also lower than that of a user. He doesn’t look like a combat NPC so it will be difficult to find at party with him.”
‘What? It is because of this guy?’
He had thought it was strange. Once again, the average level in Galaxian was 60~70. Ark was 10 levels higher. Nevertheless, the level 65 users were popular while Ark who was higher levelled was waiting for 30 minutes. It was all due to Milan. They didn’t want to give stones away to NPCs who weren’t useful in battle! That’s why Ark didn’t receive any offers.
“I never thought of that. In fact, he is just my bag carrier so you don’t need to split the loot with the NPC. You don’t need to put him in the party.”
“I knew it was like that.”
The man laughed and nodded his head.
“In fact, we were a party of 5 but 2 people just left. But to tell you the truth, my friend and I are over level 80 so 2 more people aren’t required. If we supplement it with someone else of the same level then we can hunt the monsters with just 1 more person. If the NPC doesn’t receive a share of the loot then you can come with us. Can you do 3~4 hours?”
“Yes, I can do all night!”
Ark stood up and replied. He woke Milan up and followed after Leon.
“What do you think?”
Valencia asked as he looked at the 100 holes dug in Mt. Fargo.
“It might be people digging randomly at the ground looking for items but……”
“You don’t think it is that simple.”
The robed man nodded and replied.
“There might be someone else aside from us who knows the secret of the mountain. That is the only reason I can think of for digging that many holes in one day.”
“Will this be a setback to the plan?”
“I wouldn’t think so……”
The robed man stared at the tattered looking Mt. Fargo for a while before saying in a low voice.
“Nevertheless we should advance the plan.”
Leon’s party was gathered at a cave halfway up the mountain. There was 1 man and 1 woman. The man was a warrior with a sword, gun and armour like Leon while the woman was dressed in a white garment like a healer
“The warrior is called Slayer while the healer is Melina.”
Leon introduced the two of them to Ark. The warrior called Slayer sent Leon an uncomfortable look.
“What? Didn’t we decide on 1 person?”
“There is 1 person and a NPC. We don’t need to separate the loot for the NPC.”
“Well then I don’t care……”
Slayer scratched his head before looking at Melina. He rushed to Leon and hurried whispered.
-Hey! Why did you bring a guy?
–This guy? What are you saying all of a sudden?
–Damn, that’s right. You weren’t there. Do you remember what I was talking about yesterday? That guy was so pathetic he held onto the legs and begged for his life. That person is this guy.
–Yes, there is no doubt. His face seems a bit different but I remember the NPC. These guys won’t be useful at all.
–But he is level 80.
–What does that matter? Most users in the village are level 60~70. What warrior could reach level 80 by being afraid of strange things? He might be wearing those clothes but he probably isn’t a warrior. No, he definitely isn’t a warrior. He’s bringing along a NPC so he is probably a merchant or porter. Let’s check his body coating.
“Alan-nim, what body coating do you have?”
Leon asked Ark after listening to Slayer.
–See! Survivor, it is the feeling that he will do whatever it takes to survive! If it becomes even slightly dangerous then he’ll probably abandon his colleagues to run away!
–Then what do we do?
–What else? We have to send him back.
–But he said we don’t need to worry about giving loot to the NPC…..
Leon scratched his head and hesitated.
–And it will be difficult to find another ugly user.
–Indeed. That’s certainly the case. It was to the extent that I released a sound when I first saw him.
Slayer gawked at Ark. In fact, these users had another purpose apart from the gallstones. It was understandable when looking at the level, but Leon and Slayer were people who spent more than 12 hours in the game a day. And the thing they desired most was a girlfriend. And spring visited all of a sudden. Melina!
Leon and Slayer made an effort to impress girls. However the only things that emerged from their mouths were related to the game so it never worked out. But Melina was different. Her character was refreshing and she liked talking about the game unlike other women. Plus her appearance was pretty!
‘It’s a match! This is a chance that heaven has given me!’
Since then Slayer and Leon’s goal changed from the gallstones to Melina. And they made some preparations to look better compared to other men. Therefore Leon and Slayer looked for appearance when forming a party. They picked the ugly ones so that they could stand out more. In fact, the two who just left the party were only level 57 and 59. They were accepted into the party because they were ugly. It was also why Leon showed interest in Ark despite being attached to a NPC. His slit eyes and protruding buck teeth stimulated an unpleasant feeling! Ark’s face shown in the Hyde Helmet was +1000% to Leon and Slayer. In this game, the character’s faces could be touched up. Therefore it was rare to find an ugly user in the game. Even so, Ark’s degree of ugliness was extremely rare!
–This low talent is too valuable to give up.
–It isn’t a problem if he can’t fight. The two of us alone can catch any level 100 monster. It is actually better that this guy doesn’t help in battle. We will look even better compared to him.
–Anyway, I take back what I said about sending him away. This is a smart move. If we bring that guy here and send him back with no explanation then it might look bad to Melina.
–Chet, I see. I’ll allow that guy. And don’t forget the promise. Fair play. We can’t cause trouble for Melina by fighting among ourselves. Understood?
–Of course! It is a man’s promise!
Leon and Slayer shook each other’s hands firmly. Then Ark who was watching from behind asked with anxiety.
“Is there a problem?”
“No, no! No problem!”
“Yes, we’re done with the preparations so we can enter immediately.”
“Enter? But I…..”
Ark scratched his head. He had followed the party for the moment but he still had 1 hour of muscle pain left. The penalty was the penalty but he was in so much pain that it was difficult for him to even move. Therefore he wanted to ask if he could be rear support until the muscle pain wore off. However Leon and Slayer slapped his back before he could say anything.
“It’s okay. You just have to believe in us and follow.”
“Yes, Alan-nim doesn’t need to worry about anything.”
“Melina-nim, let’s go.”
Leon and Slayer placed their arms over Ark’s shoulder and moved towards Melina. Ark’s face was +1000% a blessing for the two men. Leon and Slayer who were ordinary looked handsome next to him. No, they looked like users standing next to a monster.
–As expected, our appearance looks a lot better.
–Huhuhu, if he’s here then we’re like celebrities!
Leon and Slayer looked at Ark with warm eyes. The two men dreaming of a pink romance entered the cave. The fear they would face inside the cave…..