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"The operator has moved."
The S.A Group gave codenames to NPCs. It was for convenience. The arrangement of the code intuitively told them the function and role of the NPC. Only a very small number of NPCs was given nicknames instead of codenames. It was because they had special personalities, so the nicknames could be remembered even after hearing it once. Among them, the 'operator' was different.
Codename S-001—his name was Hanul. Like the great demon Baal and archangel Raphael, he was at the top when it came to 'creating quests.' He was different from Baal whose 'episodes' were limited by his contractor (Agnus). Hanul was able to create more diverse episodes by giving roles and situations to a number of unspecified players.
Five years after Satisfy was released, the S.A Group was pleased to see that Hanul was finally moving. It was predicted that Hanul would rekindle stories that had become stagnant due to players like Grid and Kraugel or that he would write completely new stories, invigorating Satisfy.
[Call of the Heavens]
[★ Hidden Quest ★
Some transcendental beings need your help.
Go to Pangea, the starting city in the East Continent. Meet the troubled inhabitants of Pangea and listen to their stories.
Quest Clear Conditions: Arrive in Pangea within 3 days.
Quest Clear Rewards:
1. Create a linked hidden quest.
2. Unique rated weapon production method (one-time consumable item)
Quest Failure Condition: None.]
"Heok. What is this?"
Levels, skills, stats—none of these things mattered. Every player who was a blacksmith received the same quest. It was a sudden phenomenon that came without any warning signs. All over the continent, the blacksmiths danced with joy.
"The rewards are enormous! I don't know what's going on, but this is a huge jackpot! Puhaha!"
"This is the first time I've received a hidden quest... What is this?"
"Every other blacksmith has received the quest as well? A specific cla.s.s quest... Will other cla.s.ses get this type of quest one day?"
"No, it is a perk only given to blacksmiths. This is probably because of Grid."
"Why did you bring up Grid's name all of a sudden?"
"You idiot, have you forgotten? Grid was blessed by the blacksmith G.o.d, and all blacksmiths received a buff. This quest might be an extension of that."
Grid, Grid, Grid—the name of the Overgeared King popped out from the mouths of the happy blacksmiths who weren't thinking. They benefited from having the same cla.s.s as someone else. It was very gratifying. After all, it was a free bus.
"It is great that Grid is a blacksmith... Really great."
A production method based on the 'rating', rather than the 'item name', was special. Items of the specified rating would be produced unconditionally. The reward for this hidden quest was definitely a 'unique rated weapon.' There was no one who wouldn't covet a one-time consumable production method.
The value of unique rated equipment was in the tens to hundreds of millions of won depending on the options. The value was similar regardless of whether it was a level-100, level-200, or level-300 limited weapon. It was a game with a large number of users, so people overflowed in every level segment and the supply of high-grade items was insufficient.
'I must clear the quest!' All the blacksmiths shared a common purpose. It was the same for players who hadn't reached level 100 because they had started the game later or for the players registered in the rankings. There was one problem though.
How would they get to the East Continent? In recent years, many people had traveled between the West Continent and East Continent, but the number was still less than 10,000. It was in the thousands. This number was tiny considering there were over 2 billion players. It was virtually impossible for ordinary blacksmiths to cross to the East Continent, and curses started to spread throughout the continent as the blacksmiths realized this.
"d.a.m.n. What are they doing, giving a quest that can't be cleared?"
"I thought it was good... Are people teasing me?"
On the various community sites, posts t.i.tled 'Purchasing method to move to the East Continent' were frequently registered. However, none of them were able to step on the East Continent. No one was stupid enough to sell an opportunity to dominate the stage they hadn't experienced yet.
'A hidden quest is literally a hidden quest...' The 1st ranked Panmir couldn't help questioning it. All blacksmiths had been given a hidden quest. This easy-to-access quest was a hidden quest...? It felt like a trap.
'The quest can't be cleared anyway. There is no need to think about it.'
Panmir closed the quest window. Then he resumed his work while the other blacksmiths were still agitated.
Ttang! Ttang! Ttang! The hammering sound rang out from the Reinhardt smithies, the pride of the Overgeared Kingdom. Due to the large number of blacksmiths in the Overgeared Kingdom, the production of battle gear was now the best in the continent and the 'ma.s.s-produced Grid set' was spreading to the soldiers. The smithies were the heart of the Overgeared Kingdom, and it was hot there.
"Everyone seems to be doing well." Overgeared King Grid appeared in this place.
"Ohhh!" The blacksmiths cheered. The legendary blacksmith who was acknowledged by a G.o.d... They welcomed the emergence of the hero who made a great profit for them.
"Grid! Please show me how to make an item!"
"I really wanted to see you!"
"You actually look very handsome!"
Grid asked one of the blacksmiths, who were making a disturbance, "Did you receive the hidden quest?"
Panmir acted as their representative and replied, "Of course, we have received it."
"Then why are you here? Aren't you going to clear the quest?"
The blacksmiths were agitated.
"We gave up because we can't get there."
"Grid, do you know how to get to the East Continent?"
As the questions poured in, Grid nodded. "It is ominous."
Panmir quietly whispered into Grid's ears, "I have lived a short life, but I have rarely been given favors with no conditions. This quest doesn't have any specific conditions, and it attracts people with great rewards. I feel that it is a trap."
This deduction was from his years of experience. Panmir advised Grid based on what he had seen and experienced in his old age. Grid nodded again. "I understand why you are concerned. It is right to be wary when a hidden quest suddenly pops up."
"I'm glad that you know."
"However, is it really a quest without any conditions? This quest also has a condition. It is the blacksmith cla.s.s."
"I have been to Pangea. More of the residents are now people of the Overgeared Kingdom. Still, not everyone followed me here. Some people stayed in Pangea and protected the lonely city." This was Grid's reasoning. "This quest is a divine revelation to help them. The transcendental being spoken of in the quest is G.o.d Hexetia who is favorable to me. G.o.d Hexetia is giving an opportunity to the blacksmiths who serve him—help the suffering people of Pangea and receive big rewards. It is a type of prize."
"It is a plausible interpretation. The Rebecca Church members who serve G.o.ddess Rebecca often receive this type of quest. However, why Pangea? Is there a relations.h.i.+p between Pangea and Hexetia?"
"Eh... I don't know..." Grid thought about it, but he didn't know why the stage of the quest was Pangea. Was there anyone in Pangea who served Hexetia? No. If there were such a person, Hexetia wouldn't have become so crooked.
"...Well. I will know when I get there." Grid couldn't shake off the belief that the transcendental being in the quest was G.o.d Hexetia, so he accepted it as a positive situation. With this, Panmir no longer questioned it as Grid's reasoning was moderately plausible. There were some aspects which made him feel uneasy, but he thought it would be good to go to the East Continent.
Panmir asked, "By the way, aren't unique rated production methods useless to you? You don't need this."
"Yes. Still, it is necessary for other blacksmiths." Grid looked at the blacksmiths who were gathered in the smithy district. Their country and gender were all different, but they all believed in him and had moved to the Overgeared Kingdom. Grid wanted to help them. There was also the expectation that if they produced more unique rated items and circulated them around the Overgeared Kingdom, the power of the kingdom would develop further.
"There is also the linked quest..."
"That's right. More quests will give better rewards."
"Panmir, will you go?"
"No. I will stay here."
"Why? Don't you want the rewards?"
"Somebody has to lead them." Panmir's gaze was aimed at the blacksmiths lined up in the square. There were blacksmiths eager to work in every smithy. The number was very high. They didn't seem interested in the crowd gathered in the square. "There are those striving to reach a certain level. They dream of becoming the third or fourth legend after Khan. In particular, that person named Latz... He only logs out twice a day and spends the rest of the time at the anvil."
"They are talents who will carry the future of the Overgeared Kingdom."
"Yes, but they are also compet.i.tors threatening my ranking. I will remain here and work with them. There are also many jobs that have acc.u.mulated. Lauel will scold us if too many people leave their positions."
"I know. That's why I don't plan to move everyone over all at once. I will split them into teams and move sequentially. Then our work won't be hindered. Panmir, this quest only requires us to arrive in Pangea. We can go there in minutes with Sticks' help. You can't spare that much time?"
"I don't know if a linked quest will occur the moment I arrive in Pangea. Then I might not be able to come back quickly. It would be a shame."
"Hrmm... I must prove with the first team that it is quick and safe. Okay." Grid ended his conversation with Panmir and s.h.i.+fted his gaze. There were thousands of blacksmiths filled with expectations.
"The 100 blacksmiths with the highest level, you will be the first to go with me to Pangea."
Grid didn't delay and called out the names on the list which he had the soldiers prepare beforehand. He grabbed an East Continent Movement Scroll from Sticks and made a signal. Then...
Grid and 100 blacksmiths disappeared in a flash of light.
[You have successfully moved to the East Continent.]
[You have arrived in Pangea.]
The blacksmiths were fascinated by the scroll that they hadn't seen before, and when they came to their senses, the landscape had changed. The blacksmiths looked around the city with curious eyes. The city was silent. The patterned tiles and large symbols gave a glimpse of old prosperity, but the city hadn't received the touch of humans for a long time and was damaged. The weeds that emerged from gaps in the tiles were dense, and the roofs of the lined houses were quite damaged. It used to be a city where many people lived. There had been children playing in the alleys and merchants yelling with lively voices. There had been carriages carrying goods and impatient-looking warriors.
Now, that was a story of the past. The threat of the yangban drove people away from this place. The unbearable external pressure caused the city to be abandoned.
[★Hidden Quest★ 'Call of Heaven' has been cleared.]
The notification windows were being updated.
[A unique rated weapon production method has been acquired as a quest reward.]
[A linked quest will occur as a quest reward.]
"Ohh!" The blacksmiths were delighted. However, the good atmosphere didn't last long.
[East Continent Experience (1)]
[★ Hidden Quest ★
Creatures called 'steel jiangs.h.i.+' are roaming the city. Prove that you can survive the jiangs.h.i.+ and adapt to the environment of the East Continent.
Quest Clear Conditions: Survive for 1 hour.
Quest Clear Rewards:
1. Create a linked hidden quest.
2. Two unique rated armor production methods (one-time consumable items)
Quest Failure: Level -1. The highest stat will permanently decrease by 10 points.]
"Use the scroll right now!"
Something was wrong. Grid was reminded of Panmir's advice and quickly pulled out his sword. The puzzled blacksmiths didn't know what jiangs.h.i.+ were, but they quickly followed Grid's orders. They pulled out the West Continent Movement Scroll they had received previously and tried to use it. However...
[This can't be used during the quest.]
A notification window popped up, and the scroll didn't work. At this time, some shadows leaped between the roofs of the houses. Their leaps were great like those of a giant flea.
"W-What is this...?"
The blacksmiths screamed as they witnessed the approaching shadows. They had pale skin with blue blood vessels bulging, red bloodshot eyes, and a drooping tongue. These were jiangs.h.i.+. The concept of 'moving corpses' was like zombies, but jiangs.h.i.+ were faster and stronger than zombies. The jiangs.h.i.+ flew toward the blacksmiths.
"Wave." Thanks to the enhanced Pagma's Swordsmans.h.i.+p, Grid's attack boasted unparalleled power and turned the jiangs.h.i.+ to ashes. The lowest rated jiangs.h.i.+ couldn't withstand Grid's strike. This was just the beginning. Randy, Noe, the light elemental, the Blade Aiming at the G.o.ds, and the Overgeared Skeletons protected the 100 blacksmiths. They fended off the jiangs.h.i.+ for one hour, and there wasn't a single casualty.
"..." The blacksmiths couldn't close their mouths. Before this, they were already fascinated by the Grid who was acknowledged by a G.o.d, and they had moved to the Overgeared Kingdom for this reason. Now, they were falling for him again, with him as a warrior this time. In the midst of the silence...
[★Hidden Quest★ 'East Continent Experience (1)' has been cleared.]
[Two unique rated armor production methods have been acquired as a quest reward.]
These notification windows popped up. The blacksmiths were relieved. Meanwhile, Grid was shocked. 'Isn't this too much honey?'
The forced quest had high penalties and was threatening, but the rewards were significant. In just one hour, they had received three unique rated production methods. The rewards were less significant for Grid, but he was looking forward to the rewards for the later linked quests. Grid was thrilled.
On the other hand, the blacksmiths were shaking. "S-Scroll..."
They wondered if they could use the scroll before the next quest popped up, but they were too late. A new quest was created.
[East Continent Experience (2)]
[★ Hidden Quest ★
The few remaining inhabitants of Pangea are being surrounded by the 'poison jiangs.h.i.+.' Find and rescue them. Beware of the attacks of the steel jiangs.h.i.+.
Quest Clear Conditions: Rescue 30 people within 1 hour.
Quest Clear Rewards:
1. Create a linked hidden quest.
2. 10 Blessed Weapon Enhancement Stones.
Quest Failure: Level -1. The highest stat will permanently decrease by 15 points.]
The price of the blessed enhancement stones was still rising. It was an item which was difficult to secure because only a small amount was dropped when bosses were raided. Yet, the Overgeared Kingdom now had a chance to obtain 1,000 blessed weapon enhancement stones.
Simultaneously, the headquarters of the S.A Group.
"Hanul's trials give high rewards as the difficulty is multiplied..."
It was reasonable compensation. After all, this was the world of Satisfy. Lim Cheolho's heart thumped as he watched the monitor. "This might be the birth of the strongest demon king..."
The Demon King's Subjugation was an event designed to force the demon king to lose. Even if only one partic.i.p.ant broke through the gates of the four heavenly kings and entered the demon king's castle, all dead partic.i.p.ants would be resurrected. The demon king had to face approximately 400 National Compet.i.tion partic.i.p.ants. It was intended to stimulate the audience's nerves, but it was almost physically impossible for the demon king to win.
The S.A Group a.n.a.lyzed that Grid would only be able to get three to four medals from this National Compet.i.tion. However, now...
"Seven..." Lim Cheolho's thoughts changed.