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TDL BK I, CH 32: New Worries 

Chapter Thirty-two: New Worries 

Guillaume stared down into the bowl of the arena and onto the stage, trying to keep his mind off the people he knew to be staring at him. He watched as another team disappeared into the portal, followed immediately by one of the green squares turning red, likely as an indicator to show it was occupied. Up above the stage, the western face of the new giant display flickered to life and revealed the new entrees to be standing on the staircase, landing leading into the mystic realm. The same mystic realm he and his team had only just come out of a quarter of an hour ago. A lot has changed since then.

This was only the third team to enter; soon, a fourth and fifth followed until all the squares on the floating bar turned red to show full occupancy. A lie, of course. A pretty obvious one, too, but one everyone politely ignored. The mercenary captain doubted they had seen the full depths of the mystic realm and what it could do. What was it the Vast Heaven Elder said?

“The Vast Heaven Palace welcomes all comers who wish to challenge and explore our mystic realm! Rest assured that we can accommodate your numbers. We have already made changes to address this. Please remain calm and seated. Interested challengers may send a representative over to…”

After listening to that confident speech and seeing just how easily they had modified the mystic realm, it wasn’t difficult to tell that the Vast Heaven Sect were intentionally limiting entry, probably to control demand, now that he thought about it. Whatever the case, it didn’t take a genius to see that there was something extraordinary about the mystic realm. Admittedly, Guillaume had never entered one before today, but from every account he had heard, this… thing could not be a normal mystic realm.

Ignoring the strange creatures that came back to life when you left, the floating displays or the strange loot, there was something exceedingly odd about the mystic realm. For heaven’s sake, the damned thing had changed right before his eyes! There was something the Vast Heaven Sect was not telling them. Simply saying it was a relic from the Cataclysm wasn’t an answer. Guillaume doubted that answer would satisfy anyone, especially after what they had witnessed. 

A few had tried asking questions only to be ignored by the Elder in charge. The man had looked right at the audience and spoken like it was business as usual while they reeled at the events that had transpired. 

Guillaume had genuinely never felt anything like it. His magical senses went haywire as the world’s essence was worked into a frenzy, and reality itself began to shudder. But just as quickly as it began, it ended. For the first time in his life, his special power was so overwhelmed that it essentially knocked itself out in much the same way a man staring into a flash bomb temporarily went blind after his eyes were overloaded by the bright light. To think that after all he had experienced today, that would be the most frightening thing so far. For several minutes after the fact, Guillaume was forced to rely on Howe’s support and one of the potions they had acquired to remain awake. A fact that did not go unnoticed by the people watching them. 

Even without his special senses, Guillaume could feel the weight of the eyes on him. All the more reason for him to put up a strong front. He knew they weren’t friends, but after so long working alongside each other in the same business, he expected… Guillaume wasn’t sure what he expected, but the contemplative and downright hungry looks Adil and the other mercenary leaders regarded him with were disturbing. In hindsight, Adil’s reaction was to be expected given he had shown the man up a dozen fold but the Sapphires and the Conclave of Erith? Having the predatory eyes of an entire mercenary troop follow you was something Guillaume had never known to fear, and he was often tasked with clearing out monster dens. Right now, he was praying the Conclave did better than he did just to get them off his back. 

The Vast Heaven Elder was wrong in that regard. Giving up the sword did nothing to quell the greed. It maybe had eliminated the most prominent ones, as the faint psychic warning from the VIP pavilion vanished when they handed it over, but the ones from the stands remained. It didn’t matter that they no longer had the exultant weapon; they still had the proceeds they earned from its sale as well as all the other loot they had gained from the mystic realm. It was more wealth than he had ever had at any point in his life, and Guillaume couldn’t help but feel the weight of it. Thankfully, the changes in the mystic realm soon took the attention off his small company. It didn’t last long, though. 

A vein pulsed in his temple as he noticed someone point him out to one of the newcomers from the corner of his eye. Fighting off the urge to turn towards them, he strained his ears in the hopes of catching snippets of their conversation.

“HE GAVE IT UP!?” the newcomer exclaimed a little too loudly for his companion’s comfort.

Guillaume bristled. No! He hadn’t given it up! He’d sold it to the elder on the stage. What else was he supposed to do? Guillaume listened as the loud-voiced fellow was shushed, knowing that if he turned to look, he’d catch them staring his way. Their voices fell back into the general murmur of the seated masses. The young mercenary captain couldn’t wait for the day to be over so he could leave. Still, he was unable to keep himself from wondering what they discussing now. Did they all think him a fool? He wouldn’t blame them. Even now, a part of him wished he’d kept it, damn the risks. He could practically see it with his mind’s eye.


Item: Champion’s Ward | Type: Weapon | Set: — 

Tier: One | Grade: Legendary |  Durability: 100% | 

Description: At their height, House Mirthtree was divided on which of their iconic swords deserved the number one spot. That said, none of them ever contested this sword’s place in the top three, and no one ever disputed its power. Even Mylos Mirthtree, their founder and the person who commissioned it, was forever awestruck by its power. In the end, his attachment to his own treasured blade and his love for his heir saw him pass it to his eldest son. The Mirthtree star may not have remained in prominence for long, but while it lasted, the Champion’s Ward was their standard and their greatest weapon.

Requirements: Lvl 8   

Effects: 

  • +69% Magic
  • +50% Mana Recovery
  • +57% Effectiveness
  • +74% Strength  

Skills: 

  • [Champion’s Ward] — The light of this blade protects its wielder, reducing all damage taken from sources below the third tier by 15%. 
  • [Protector’s Light] — This light may be expended to defend others at the user’s command.
  • [Ever Vigilant] — The wielder is protected from hostile spells below the third tier that aim to charm, sleep or confuse.

Item: Signet of the Regenerator | Type: Accessory | Set: — 

Tier: One | Grade: Epic |  Durability: 100% | 

Description: No swordsman, no matter how skilled, could hope to wade into a throng of enemies and come out unscathed. However, what if one did not have to care about injury? Rather, what if any injuries resulting from such reckless actions could be trusted to take care of themselves? With this ring, you will have the answers to those questions. Just don’t ask how its previous wearer died.  

Requirements: Lvl 4   

Effects: 

  • +29% Effectiveness
  • +25% Attack
  • +45% Defence

Skill:

  • [Regeneration] — When active, this skill provides a potent regenerative effect that lasts for 10 minutes. Cool down for 2 hours.  

Item: Boots of the Dragon | Type: Boots | Set: — 

Tier: One | Grade: Epic |  Durability: 100% | 

Description: Made from drake leather and trimmed with ermine, these boots are enchanted with power to bring out their latent draconic power. They’re also incredibly stylish. They’re yours now, so wear them with pride.  

Requirements: Lvl 4   

Effects: 

  • +50% Agility
  • +49% Attack
  • +39% Stamina

Skill:

  • [Dragon Rush] — You are filled with draconic power. +20% to speed and strength for three minutes. Cool down for 1 hour.  

The first and most powerful artefact, they had already sold to the Vast Heaven Sect. Technically, they had left it in their custody while deliberating the details of the sale. It was the smart choice as their hosts were highly unlikely to cheat them in such a public sale. As for the others, the ring was something Guillaume was sure to keep. The boots might go to Howe. His friend made great contributions today, and it would be a fitting reward. None of the others could contest that. 

Guillaume turned to his friend, the other cultivator seemed deep in thought. In his hands, he held a silver coin, tumbling it over his fingers in a show of dexterity. Guillaume pulled one out of his pouch to examine. It was an ordinary coin, so ordinary, they didn’t need them appraised. On one side was a simple mark, likely a number, and on the other, a drawing of layered clouds, lines denoting sunlight streaming through them. Howe’s coin hadn’t left his hand since they left the stage. 

Guillaume was tempted to nudged him and ask what was so special about the coin. In his opinion, there was only one other significant piece of loot besides their three prizes. 

Item: Robust Chestpiece | Type: Chest | Set: Mirthtree 

Tier: One | Grade: Uncommon |  Durability: 100% | 

Description: A standard chest piece of a warrior of the Mirthtree Clan. Once upon a time, being clad in such armour denoted a certain certain degree of class and skill. Those times are long gone. It falls to you now to bring this equipment the prestige it deserves.      

Requirements: Lvl 1   

Effects: 

  • +11% Strength

Mirthtree Set Skills:

  • (1/4) [Swordheart] — The Mirthtree clan were renowned for their sword skills. Being clad in their livery confers some of these skills to you. +10% bonus to all sword skills. 

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