Second Life Ranker

Chapter 477 - The Tortoise and The Hare (2)
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Chapter 477 - The Tortoise and The Hare (2)

Bang! Fu, fu, fu.

“It’s definitely sturdy.” Tarneck frowned as he looked at the black barrier. He was expecting at least a few scratches, but the barrier showed no signs of damage. The attacks of the Guardians who made up the Chase Team were to no avail, and they all shook their heads. The members of the Chase Team were either agents of the Special Police Force or those who had travelled with Tarneck through various dimensions and spaces as frontline operatives. The barrier in front of them was beyond what they could handle—in fact, the entire place was beyond their capacities.

It was a world full of disorder and chaos, an outer dimension stained with the remnants of the otherworld god. The Guardians protected the Tower’s system, but that also led them to rely and depend on the system, and they could feel their power draining just from being in this place. This was also the reason why the Central Bureau had stopped pursuing Laplace once they learned that he had entered the Demonic Sea.

The Guardians had no issue fighting head-on with their enemies but breaking a barrier like the one in front of them was terribly difficult, frustrating work.

“Wh-wh-what should w-we do?” The Zodiac Pig Lupi cried with a terrified face. He shifted and rolled his curled feet on the ground like a young child who had disappointed his mother. Some of the female Guardians next to Lupi looked at him with sympathy as their maternal instincts were triggered.

Tarneck made an exasperated expression. Lupi was the one who had forced Laplace into this place. Although he and Lupi had spent over a thousand years together as top Guardians, Laplace had never gotten used to Lupi’s childish actions. However, it was neither the time nor place to point out faults. Tarneck cursed and muttered under his breath as he looked at the barrier over Laplace’s Illusory World. “Even a worthless dog gains an advantage when it enters its home turf. Laplace returning to his homeland is a big headache.”

From the beginning, Tarneck had opposed letting Laplace join the Central Bureau. Laplace was a foreign being who had a completely different origin and goal from the rest of them. Tarneck had vehemently argued that Laplace probably had some hidden agenda. However, at the time, the Central Bureau believed that they needed to research and understand the mysteries of the beings of other worlds, and so, they had accepted Laplace into their ranks. In the end, Laplace had almost destroyed the delicate balance that the Bureau had established with the heavenly world.

They were lucky that Lupi had noticed something fishy early on. Tarneck shuddered at the possible consequences that could have befallen the Central Bureau otherwise. ‘Who wanted to accept Laplace then?’ Tarneck tried to remember the events of that time. His brow furrowed. ‘Was it Yvlke...?’

Wasn’t it also Yvlke who’d introduced Laplace to the Central Bureau? As Tarneck was about to think further, Lupi’s cries interrupted his train of thought. “Tarneck.”

Tarneck sighed lightly and turned, certain that Yeon-woo and his allies must have already figured out that the Guardians had appeared in front of the barrier. He had to catch Yeon-woo before he could slip away. “Gilles de Rais. Vlad Tepes.”

“Sir.”

“Sir.”

At his call, two of the Chase Team bowed their heads. One was a strange-looking, scaly-faced Zodiac Sheep man with lizard-like vertical pupils while the other was a middle-aged man in a black robe with a grim air.

At one point in the past, these two individuals had vied over the Vampire race’s Blood King throne with the Vampiric Lord, Erzsebet Bathory, but they eventually lost out in the power struggle and were forced to enter the Bureau in order to survive. They had to suck on their thumbs and observe from the sidelines during the Vampiric Lord’s downfall since they had to maintain their objectivity as Guardians. However, now that they were given this opportunity, they would take advantage of the situation to seek revenge. While the two were preparing to carry out their orders, Tarneck warned, “Everyone else, get out of the way. Don’t get hurt for no reason.”

Tarneck released his suppressed powers. Except for Lupi, everyone in the Chase Team used Blink to move away.

[Your powers have been released.]

[The Demon King attempts to manifest itself in your body.]

[Caution! The system is detecting anomalies and is imposing restrictions.]

[Warning! Your actions violate the law of causality. Attempting to restrict the law of causality.]

Although there were several warning messages, Tarneck wasn’t concerned. Klus had already stated that he would take responsibility for the law of causality, and so Tarneck had no qualms about releasing his powers to the fullest.

His body blurred and dissipated, and an immense devil—the same Demon King who had invaded various dimensions and worlds in the past—appeared, splitting through the Demonic Sea’s fog.

Ku, ku, ku!

The Demon King roared as his seven horns erupted like mountains, his eyes shining like obsidian, his dragon wings sprouting out, and his goats’ hooves appearing.

[Demon King Maxwell has descended!]

The truth that Tarneck had hidden since he’d become a Guardian had now been revealed. Maxwell raised his fist high and struck the barrier. Bam!

***

[Sudden Quest / The Hare’s Liver Tale]

[Description: After endless battles, former Guardian Laplace became king of the unexplored lands, the ‘Demonic Sea’. From the time he’d gained reason, he was curious about the world. He wanted to know the reason for his existence, why the world was formed, what constituted the foundations of the world, and many other things. However, the world was full of idiots, and he could not obtain the answers that he sought.

One day, Laplace met someone called the Snapping Turtle and learned that there was another world outside the one he knew. He decided to leave his hometown for the first time and venture into this new world, and he arrived at the Tower with the Snapping Turtle.

Through his child-like eyes, Laplace found the new Tower world infinitely beautiful and a place with many things to see. It was also the best place for him to express his playful nature as a Zodiac Rabbit and run around to his heart’s content. He ran away from his guide, the Snapping Turtle and went everywhere. He gave himself the name ‘Laplace’ and later became a Guardian, which was a very useful position.

Sometimes his unyielding curiosity and mischief exceeded limits, and eventually, after an accumulation of warnings, he was stripped of his position as a Guardian and became a wanted figure by the Central Bureau.

Laplace barely escaped the Central Bureau and returned to his hometown, but for a curious rabbit who had already seen and tasted the sweetness of the world, home was too boring. So, he came up with a trick to return to the wider world.

At the request of this curious rabbit, you are tasked to run an errand to find the Snapping Turtle, from whom the rabbit separated long ago, and deliver a book. Once you complete the errand, the ticket given to you will be validated and usable. Currently, the Snapping Turtle is located at the Three God Mountains.]

[Time Limit: - ]

[Conditions: - ]

[Rewards:

1. Qualification to visit the Three God Mountains

2. The right to use the Tutorial ticket]

Yeon-woo carefully looked at the quest window that appeared in front of his eyes. ‘It doesn’t seem like a trap.’ However, he still had some reservations, particularly when it came to two details. The first was: ‘There are no conditions.’ This meant that anyone could run the errand to the Three God Mountains. In other words, as long as the book was handed to the Snapping Turtle, the ticket would become validated and usable. However, it also meant that someone could steal the ticket and the book from him, finish the sudden quest, and use the ticket.

In the eyes of most rankers, the Tutorial did not hold much value, but in the eyes of clans, it was a place like no other. Clans were always thirsty to recruit new players, and if they could take control of the Tutorial, they could monopolize the new talent. For this reason, the Central Bureau strictly managed the Tutorial tickets to ensure fairness in the competition among clans. If word got out that Yeon-woo possessed a Tutorial ticket, a large number of people would salivate and chase him to the end of the world.

It wouldn’t even matter that he was the Shadow King or had caused so much commotion in the Tower; many groups would lie in wait to attack him. Furthermore, the Central Bureau would never leave him alone. Therefore, instead of wasting time trying to remove the restrictions on the ticket, Yeon-woo understood that it would be best to quickly complete the quest. This way, he would also be able to escape the clutches of the Chase Team. The sudden quest’s lack of conditions hid a sinister objective: the completion of the sudden quest no matter what.

The second detail that stuck out was: ‘The Three God Mountains.’ Yeon-woo actually knew about this place. ‘It’s also an unexplored land like the Cave of Yaanek.’ Just as the cave was an otherworld god’s body, the Three God Mountains also had another identity.

Could the rules be bent to rise up the Tower faster?

Any player, whether a ranker or a native, would have considered this question in earnest. With the importance of stage rankings, gathering achievements and rewards by progressing through the floors, focusing on one’s steady development through the cultivation of superior skills, and the necessity of possessing confidence in one’s skills to achieve greatness in the higher floors, it’s inevitable that some experience personal ordeals and meet a wall. These people always have a vague desire to find new opportunities and release themselves from their limitations simply by moving up the Tower.

Furthermore...there are many like me who have never managed to walk the path to true awakening and transcendence by going beyond the seventy-eighth floor because of Allforone.

However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a shortcut. Many high rankers, including myself, have successfully found this shortcut through a hidden quest. Many of the unexplored lands contain detours that can move you up to the higher floors. It’s proof that the Tower isn’t just meant for movement in one direction.

However, since these unexplored lands are strictly managed by the Central Bureau, most players can never access them. Among these lands with detours, the Three God Mountains possess a route to the ninety-eighth floor and the heavenly world.

A detour to the ninety-eighth floor! Any player would go wild just thinking about it. Even gods and demons, who wanted to escape the heavenly world and rule over the lower worlds, coveted it. However, Allforone always kept a close eye on the ninety-eighth floor and if it weren’t under the jurisdiction of the Central Bureau, Allforone would have probably shut down the floor a long time ago.

[Vimalacitra looks at your hidden quest with an interested gaze.]

[Cernunnos has fallen into deep thought.]

[Agares is visibly excited.]

[Thor cheers aloud. He recommends that you quickly journey to the Three God Mountains.]

[The Monkey King tells you...]

...

[Most gods are expressing interest.]

[Most demons cannot control their excitement.]

The gods and demons who had open Channels with Yeon-woo were eagerly talking among themselves.

‘The Demonic Sea was already a huge headache, and now I have to go to the Three God Mountains? And I have to go there with these companions and the Central Bureau on my heels?’ The phrase ‘mountains upon endless mountains as far as the eye can see’ immediately came to Yeon-woo’s mind. He instinctively covered his face with his hands.

The Vampiric Lord also frowned as if she read Yeon-woo’s thoughts. “Where do we have to go?”

“The Three God Mountains.”

“Crazy. Just crazy.” The Vampiric Lord glared at Laplace, but Laplace just shrugged his shoulders in a cute manner. However, the image of a bald, middle-aged man wearing rabbit ears overlapped with the rabbit in Yeon-woo’s mind, making him almost dry heave.

“Of course, if you are not willing, you can refuse.”

Bam! At that moment, a shockwave reverberated through Laplace’s Illusory World and a massive pressure descended. An entity greater than Nessie was descending into Laplace’s Illusory World.

Laplace’s smile widened. “It seems like His Majesty, the Demon King, is really ticked off this time. He’s brought along a little piggie as well.”

“As if Tarneck isn’t enough, they brought Lupi as well?”

The faces of the Vampiric Lord and Yeon-woo hardened at the same time. Two of the top Guardians were suddenly going to appear, along with their reinforcements? Yeon-woo’s group would not be able to stop the incoming forces by themselves. “What are you going to do?” Yeon-woo asked Laplace.

Laplace shrugged his shoulders as if it had nothing to do with him.

Yeon-woo clenched his teeth. Even if the Three God Mountains were dangerous, he had no choice but to go there and escape the Central Bureau, and it was annoying that he was going to have to do what Laplace wanted, after all.

“Your face will be torn off by our hand someday,” the Vampiric Lord, who had come to the same conclusion as Yeon-woo, grumbled.

“As you wish.”

“Open the way!”

“Then the deal has been sealed,” Laplace said with a smirk.

[You have accepted the Sudden Quest (Hare’s Liver Tale).]

“Please step back for a moment.”

At Laplace’s words, Yeon-woo and the Vampiric Lord quickly stepped back. Laplace searched his body and fished out a golden key that was as large as both paws put together. He then pushed the key into the air. A void opened and engulfed the tip of the golden key, accompanied by the sound of a door opening.

Click! Whoosh!

There was a blue sea within the void—the Sea of Time and Space.

It was a place where time, space, and dimensions collided—also called the Storm of Time and Space—and the location of the Three God Mountains.

[The ‘Rabbit Tunnel’ heading to the ‘Sea of Time and Space’ has opened.]

[Pass through the ‘Rabbit Tunnel’ within the time limit. If one fails to pass through within the deadline, one will be trapped in the void or swept away by a tsunami or rainstorm.]

[Caution! You are not permitted to enter the ‘Sea of Time and Space’. Unauthorized entry may be subject to sanctions by the Central Bureau.]

[Caution! Withdraw from the ‘Rabbit Tunnel’...]

Rush!

The Sea of Time and Space possessed all the characteristics of heaven and hell. Since the laws were mixed together, it made it appear that a storm was always brewing. A harsh wind scraped the walls of the Rabbit Tunnel, and Yeon-woo could understand why the Guardians preferred to call this place the Storm of Time and Place rather than the Sea of Time and Space.

Bam! Bam! Bam!

At that moment, they heard the sound of Laplace’s Illusory World shattering. Yeon-woo and the Vampiric Lord launched themselves into the Rabbit Tunnel without looking back.

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