After the entire fiasco, the duo continued forward. But Marlene clearly didn't let her guard down. Not only did she cast a shield over herself, but she also stuck close to Rhode as much as possible, using her right hand to pinch his the hem of his clothes. Her pupils darted left and right continuously, seeking out any sudden movements. With this level of surveillance, perhaps not even the cloaked men could avoid her.
"Mr. Rhode, is it really here?" Marlene asked after she inhaled deeply, breathing in the cold, chilly air which sent a shiver down her spine.
As they went deeper into the cave, the ground became increasingly colder. Rhode was also fairly curious since he had never completed this quest before. At that time, he was completely focused on unearthing the potential of the Summoning Swordsman, so he was hesitant to activate this quest.
The reason why he knew so much about the Rock of Lament was because he read about another player's adventure on the forum. That player posted screenshots of his experiences as well as the loot he obtained at the end of the quest. His intention was mainly to show off, and many people ended up taking the bait. Before him, no one thought that listening to the bard would grant them a hidden quest, so after this incident, it spawned a revelation among many players to use similar tactics to seek out other hidden quests.
The situation right now was the same as what he has remembered in the forum post. But at that time, the player wrote, "After I walked through the cave for a while..."
...It ended there.
So... how long is 'a while'?
Only god knows.
In any case, it shouldn't be too long. Otherwise, that player wouldn't write it as 'a while.'
Damn it! It was a mistake not to research more about this questline.
Just as he said those words, a few moments later, the two of them finally noticed a change in scenery.
A bright light shone into their eyes as they left the narrow cave.
They found themselves in a wide, underground cave. Stalactites formed on the ceiling, and an occasional drop of water would fall off the tip. The wet solid cave wall also reflected the sun rays which permeated into the cave through several holes from the top. There were even some plants in the corners that tried to stretch its tendrils towards the light.
Rhode had seen plenty of underground caverns, so he wasn't surprised. As for Marlene, it was her first time witnessing such a sight. It wasn't as scary and dark as she imagined, it could be even described as charming and beautiful.
Marlene was completely immersed in this magnificent display of the power of nature. Meanwhile, Rhode shifted his gaze on a huge rock.
This rock matched exactly to what Rhode had seen in the forum post.
A huge inverted stalactite was carved into a smooth rock and many names were etched on it. It was the names of the bandits who had been killed. After their deaths, they were buried here, under the tombstone raised by the common people.
"They lurked in the nights and perished in the darkness, but they have brought us light."
Rhode muttered the inscription above the tombstone, then he bowed his head and glanced behind the rock.
A long time had passed, and the graves lost its original appearance. If it weren't because of those small mounds that were neatly arranged in a row, almost no one would think that this was a gravesite.
"What should I do next, Mr. Rhode? You wouldn't ask me to become a graverobber, right?" Marlene asked Rhode worriedly. No matter what, digging up graves wasn't a noble thing to do.
"Let's split up and check the area."
Naturally, Rhode already found the location of the treasure since he could recall the contents of the screenshots by the player quite vividly. But he wasn't silly enough to directly saunter to the treasure location and dig it up because that would indubitably trip Marlene's suspicion. He didn't want to create additional headaches for himself, so he decided to play it out naturally.
Marlene was relieved when she heard that Rhode wasn't going to order her to dig up the graves. She nodded her head and took the left side of the cave while Rhode searched the right. Up to this point,
everything was the same as the forum post, even so, Rhode couldn't help but wonder that if there would be any kind of divergence from the game.
But when he saw a dust-covered chest made out of bronze in the corner, Rhode finally felt relieved.
He walked towards the chest and lowered his body, studying the object before him.
Due to the power of time, the chest's surface had begun to weather. Rhode gently reached out and swept the dust off the lid. Then he skillfully patted several seemingly random spots with his right hand to confirm that it wasn't boobytrapped. After that, he held the lid and opened it.
Creak... Dust flew everywhere when he lifted up the lid as its aged hinges made a sad wail. After blowing the dust off the objects, his heart immediately jumped with joy.
Inside the chest were the weapons left behind by the bandits. Most of them had rusted beyond belief and already failed the test of time. However, there were a few which glittered amongst the others, as though they were brand new. This was a characteristic of magic equipment.
[Broken Fang (Dagger), Magic Equipment (Excellent), when attacking the target, it can trigger a chance of paralysis for 3 seconds]
[Forest Walker (Longbow), Magic Equipment (Excellent), by consuming Soul Power, it can activate the Hawkeye effect for 1 hour. ]
[Rock Hearts (Shield), Magic Equipment (Rare), when attacked, there's a chance of triggering Steel Body and absorb 4000 damage, resistance to magic attacks increased by 10%]
[Wild Wolf Oath (Sword), Magic Equipment (Excellent), when attacking the target, it can trigger chance of Bleeding, damage increased by 30%]
In the chest, Rhode found four types of magic equipment. He even found a spatial bag which made him incredibly happy. Spatial bags were very expensive and rare to find. In the game, all players automatically had one, but now he realized that it was a luxury to have one.
After the incident in the floating ship, he asked Matt about this issue. At first, he intended to order one from Matt, but Matt told him that the spatial bags belonged mostly to mages. Since space magic were high-level spells, perhaps most ordinary people wouldn't be able to get it in their entire lifetime.
Even as a traveling merchant, Matt had no way to acquire a spatial bag. Maybe only four to five people in Deep Stone City had one. Rhode just knew that Sereck and Marlene both had one each. Alas, the missy took things too easily. She thought that their journey here wouldn't be long and didn't bring it. Marlene's robe had a similar function, but it could not carry as much as a spatial bag.
Rhode had been craving for it ever since he arrived to this world. Back in the game, players would throw away their low-leveled 10-grid spatial bag because nobody wanted to buy it. But now, not even a 4-grid spatial bag for newbies could be found. It was such a tragedy...
Although he suspected that the loot here would be quite decent, it actually went past his expectations! To put it simply, he had planned to hunt for similar equipment, but that was only in the next dungeon. However, now he could get them all without fighting any enemy! Perhaps this was the reason why hidden quests were so attractive. Unlike ordinary quests, hidden quests tested the player's wisdom and observation.
Rhode immediately stored all the loot he found in the spatial bag without any reservations. After cleaning out the entire chest, he spotted a piece of cloth hidden at the bottom. A trace of excitement flashed in his eyes and quickly grabbed it.
On the surface, this piece of cloth appeared rather unappealing. Its dull grey colors made it seem like it was dirty. But at this moment, Rhode knew that this was the reason why the forum post went viral on the internet.
[Shadow Messenger (Cloak), Magic Equipment (Mysterious), wearing it can conceal your presence by 70%, Stealth passive effect]
This cloak was the first Mysterious-tier equipment he discovered in this world. This piece of equipment was a must-have for spies, thieves, assassins or rangers. In the game's auction house, the price of it reached 25 gold coins, and it had not been reduced ever since. Besides Ancient-tier types of magic equipment, there would be nothing better for these subterfuge classes.
Furthermore, there were only ten of these cloaks in the entire Dragon Soul Continent. It once belonged to an assassin faction with a long history. Only one player managed to acquire this cloak without passing the test set by the assassins. The rest of them had to kill monsters and go through rigorous questlines to obtain it, but still, they did not succeed in the end.
And right now, this legendary artifact finally fell into his grasp.
It was a pity that he wasn't from the thief class, this factor alone made the value of the cloak significantly diminish, but it was still better than nothing.
While Rhode was busy looting, Marlene, who was at the other side of the cave, stared at a strange part of the wall curiously.
"What's this?" She murmured to herself.
The wall that she was looking at was wrapped in vines, concealing whatever that was within completely. However, Marlene felt that there was something strange in it, so, she carefully raised her wand and cast a spell to untangle the vines.
When the vines parted, the first thing she saw was a face.
Marlene subconsciously screamed and waved her wand back and forth. After a while, she realized that it was only a sculpture.
The sculpture portrayed a dignified man in full plate armor holding a sword in his hand. Although it was quite worn, the sculpture itself was fully intact, and it emitted a faint characteristic of courage.
"This... isn't this a statue from the Fassicarl Era?"
Marlene's curiosity was piqued. She walked forward and examined the sculpture. Then she reached out and touched its face.
And at that moment, Rhode's voice sounded out, "What happened, Marlene? What did you find?"
Marlene was surprised for a moment when she heard Rhode calling her. The moment she turned around, a sound suddenly came out from the sculpture. Both of them were startled because they realized that the sculpture's face was actually shrinking back and its eyes were shining! Then, the sculpture spun around, slicing the vines with its sword.
"What the... Marlene! Be careful! Come here!"
Rhode was equally shocked because he didn't remember any of this in the forum post. And this was obviously a natural cave, how can there be a sculpture here?
However, he had no time to put his thoughts together and he quickly pulled Marlene behind him before unsheathing his sword.
Holy Soul above... it should not be those damned alchemy creatures again, right?
However, contrary to Rhode's expectation, the sculpture did not intend to attack. It put back its sword and went silent.
A moment later, a low sound echoed in the cave.
Rumble... The stone wall next to the sculpture suddenly began to shake. Then it shifted diagonally, revealing a three-meter high passage.
Rhode and Marlene glanced at each other, speechless.
How did things turn out like this?