Chapter 221. The Great Maze of the Ains (2)
The Great Maze.
A dungeon where countless players had lost their lives due to its complex structure and traps during the first moments of its opening.
But Hansoo and his party members were proceeding through the 1st floor without any delays.
Though the maze split up into numerous parts on multiple occasions, Hikikomaria was moving forward as if this was his house and he was familiar with it.
And the party members behind followed him as if this was normal.
A giant area appeared before their eyes.
A giant area full of people.
Surprisingly, there was a human town in the corner of the Great Maze.
“Selling potions! Essential items! Prepare them quick!”
“Two spots left! Recruiting people urgently!”
Countless people were moving around and shouting within the town at corner of the dark underground structure.
<Level 1 Supply Zone>
A town made from the hands of players.
‘What an unkind game.’
Hikokomaria thought about how long this town took to build and mumbled.
The Exodus did not supply the players with anything for their benefit.
It was just literally another world.
There weren’t NPCs who sold unlimited amounts of potions and neither was there people who handed out quests with set requirements.
The players, who were used to friendly game systems which were designed to attract as many people as possible, were shocked by this game at first but they slowly realized.
That this kind of cockyness in this game stemmed from its confidence.
‘As long as a game’s fun, it will be popular.’
Hikikomaria mumbled as he looked at the countless people in the Level 1 Supply Zone.
Though the game company was unfriendly, the game itself was fun.
So it was up to the players to deal with things that were uncomfortable.
If there wasn’t a clan system then they would recruit them in real life.
If there wasn’t a village then they would create it with people.
The Level 1 Supply Zone here was created in this manner.
They had dealt with various traps and beasts on level 1 and settled upon a wide area in the maze.
As safety was slowly increasing as more and more players traded and resupplied here, the NPCs who were living in the War Fortress also came in, this was how the current Level 1 Supply Zone was created.
Hikikomaria spoke towards the party members.
“Vision Enhancing Stones and other tools have been bought already with the party funds, we’ll rest here for 30 minutes so prepare the things you need by yourselves.”
There were a few things that were a necessity in the Maze.
The Vision Enhancing tone, which increased how far they could see, or the Alarming Stone, which alerted one from sneak attacks, there were countless magic artifacts the mages of the kingdoms in Exodus created and sold.
And since such things were a necessity for the whole group, they could be bought with the limited party funds but personal requirements and preparations were all up to oneself.
Since this game had a tremendous amount of freedom, there were simply countless different types of battle styles.
30 minutes was more than enough to do what he needed.
There was no need for him to prepare gears really.
‘Well, I don’t really have gold either.’
He was penniless so he didn’t even have the money to buy them.
Since this place, Level 1 Supply Zone, was a place which only sold necessary items so their prices weren’t exactly low.
Well, it was closer to the price of items in tourist locations.
Hansoo exclaimed out at the price of numerous price signs while moving through people as he found a grave at the center of the village and nodded.
Though the Level 1 Supply Zone was created by the hands of players and NPCs, they didn’t just make it anywhere.
Before this place had been built into the Supply Zone, it was actually the location where the most amount of people had died at.
<Grave of the Gatekeeper>
Countless players have melted down from the poison damage of the mysterious, infected warriors who poured out from the small pyramid structure in the middle.
Only after the mages of the kingdoms released cures for the poison and when the high level players got interested by the maze did the jewel deep inside that pyramid get broken.
Of course the construction of this Supply Zone in the largest area within the 1st floor was way after this.
As Hansoo was walking.
Somebody came up to him and started to speak.
“It’s your first time in the Great Maze right? Let’s go together, I’ll help you prepare.”
Hansoo shook his head as he looked at his newly acquired annoyance.
The female who had taken the test with him, [Kameira], was smiling next to him.
With a very amused expression.
Hansoo replied expressionlessly.
“I’ve prepared everything I needed already. I’m just planning to go to that grave over there, it seems interesting.”
Kameira looked at Hansoo flirtatiously and then spoke:
“Hahaha! There’s nothing there anymore! The ones who cleared it in the beginning…Well it seems they received a large amount of rewards but nothing is there anymore.”
It seemed Hansoo had been trying to find the remnant of a quest in there.
Of course Hansoo wasn’t the only person who thought this way.
Since Kameira was also curious and had looked all over that pyramid.
Just because the ones who cleared it first got large rewards did not mean every secret inside it had been found.
But everyone had failed.
Countless people have searched inside the pyramid for a long time but they had all failed.
Hansoo smiled at Kameira and then mumbled.
‘You can only find it if you know what you’re looking for.’
One can only see as much as they know.
Since an item that looked like trash in the eyes of the common people may be a heavenly treasure to experts.
Though the Players have been in this game for a long time, they were still noobs when it came to this world.
Since they only thought of this world as a game.
They weren’t interested in the race and the history of this world nor did they even want to know about it.
Even if they were interested, they didn’t dwell too much or pry too deeply.
But of course there were exceptions.
There were a few players out of the countless who were intrigued by this world and solely focused on research and adventures.
‘Well. I don’t remember their ID though.’
A year from now.
Their leveling was slow due to their focus in exploration but they barely met the level requirements for the War Fortress and made their way to this Great Maze.
He will then find the traces that will start the Great Change.
Unlike the other players, whose goals were just the Protection Elixirs and Quests, his objectives were much different.
And there were indeed such traces inside the Pyramid.
It looked run down but those traces were necessary to begin these quests.
Hansoo finished his thoughts as he shrugged his shoulders.
Kameia chuckled at Hansoo and then followed after him.
She was interested.
She was famous for her reasoning skills where she had come from but this guy was different.
Kameia decided to get closer and continued to ask questions.
“How old are you anyway?”
“I guess about 21.”
Kameia made a dumbfounded expression.
‘…About? With that physique?’
Guessing one’s age was secondary but for him to be 21 with his looks.
Due to his huge posture and muscles that radiated fierceness, there was no way one would look at him and think him to be 21.
‘It doesn’t seem like he customized his looks.’
The Exodus did not provide the option to customize one’s looks so one would need to buy surgery or elixirs for them.
Kameia stared at Hansoo, who didn’t have any traces of such work done to him, and then smiled.
Since age wasn’t very important.
“Then let’s drop the formalities since we’re of the same age. It seems like you’re from Goryu as well.”
Hansoo flinched at the name of the unfamiliar country which he hadn’t heard in a long time.
‘Oh yeah. I heard that this nation’s history is a bit different than ours.’
He had heard that their culture was more western than Korea.
Which meant that being informal was more common in that country.
Hansoo pondered as to whether he should continue being formal or informal but then spoke out.
“No, no. I’m more comfortable being formal.”
The formal speech was uncomfortable but she would continue to stick by if he let her in like this.
‘Hnng. Did the fact that I’m a noona* get found out? I look quite young for my age though.’
She had faked her age in order to get closer but she was sad that he had walled her off.
Then the entrance of the Pyramid appeared in front of Hansoo’s eyes.
‘Let’s go in.’
As he was about to.
“Stop. You must pay the fee to tour the Pyramid. 10 gold.”
‘Was it always like this?’
Actually he had never been to the Great Maze in the past.
Since the 6th Great Change had been going on when he had come up here in the past.
Since the Protection Elixir’s prices had dropped so much, there wasn’t really a need to go into the Great Maze.
He had only memorized the core parts of the Quest, he didn’t care about small things like this.
Hansoo frowned as he felt his empty pockets.
He hadn’t prepared any gold since he would get some while hunting in the Maze but for such a thing like this to happen.
The NPC who had been working as a guard looked at this Hansoo and then frowned as he spoke.
“Due to a large amount of people visiting, the Kingdoms decided to place a maintenance fee.”
The NPC emphasized on the word <Kingdom>.
Though 10 gold wasn’t a large amount of money, there were a lot of immortals, the title given to Players by the NPCs, who were too cheap or caused a ruckus because they didn’t like being told by others.
The guard judged Hansoo to be one of those people and spoke out in order to prevent trouble.
Since even the immortal players would have a hard time ignoring the words of the Kingdoms.
At that moment Kameira smiled as she handed over the money.
“Here, 20 gold.”
“Thank you. Have a nice tour. The time limit is 10 minutes.”
Kameira smiled as she looked at Hansoo who was staring at her.
“You told me you had no money after crossing the border. I can pay this much. Oh and since I’m the noona, I’ll speak comfortably.”
Hansoo shook his head at Kameira who had shoved her way in and caused him to be in debt.
“I’ll pay you back soon.”
“Hehe. It’s nothing.”
Hansoo entered the Pyramid along with Kameria.
She wouldn’t cause much trouble for him anyway.
Since it wasn’t like he was going to do something big.
As Hansoo was about to move out.
He heard people mumbling in the distance.
Hansoo’s supernatural hearing caught the speech of the people from the village.
— Hey! Did you hear? Apparently the bug players have entered the Great Maze.
— Huh? How many?
— I don’t know. Maybe about ten?
— Fucking hell. Jackpot! We shouldn’t be loitering around like this!
— Just ignore it. The word’s out far and wide due to the ruckus they caused on the way in.
The people’s talks rang throughout the entire space.
The Protection Elixirs were important.
But bug players had a value far higher.
Beside the artifacts they gave, the amount of experience they gave was far higher.
Killing them was basically winning the lottery.
A large amount of movement had been caused by this.
Because of this huge lottery which had made their way into the Pyramid.
Kameira went into the Pyramid while listening to the mumbles as she clicked her tongue.
“Hnng. What trash. For them to use bugs because they don’t have skills.”
They were merely trash unlike the others who constantly struggled in order to live.
‘Sigh. Anyways…If it’s ten then it’s highly likely it’s those guys.’
Hansoo frowned as he looked at the Supply Zone which had become busy.