Chapter 125 The Empty Harbour
Actually, this was logic-defying on several levels.
It was actually illogical for a small piece of metal not larger than a finger to be a key to a hidden map within a mountain. [Editor's Note: Uhm author, that’s exactly what a typical key is… only thing illogical here is your thought process...]
However, there were times like these special circumstances where logic would take a step back to make room for fantasy. Just like how one side of a mountain right now was depending on this very small key to be unlocked. Ye Ci dismounted from Ol’ Four and quickly found the Hidden Treasure Gulf’s entrance. She lifted the vines covering the cave entrance and carefully studied its walls.
Soon after, her close inspection revealed the small slot that had the exact same shape as the metal piece in her hand.
Without much thought, Ye Ci pressed the metal piece into the tiny slot. Ye Ci had envisioned that there would be a rumbling sound accompanied by smoke and dust like how they usually portrayed these things in television shows or movies whenever somebody opened the entrance to a cave, but that wasn’t the case. A simple notification from the system appeared in front of her instead.
“Are you sure you wish to enter this map - Hidden Treasure Gulf?”
“As this is an unexplored map, you might face untold dangers. Do you still wish to enter the map, Hidden Treasure Gulf?” The system would always warn players to proceed with caution while pioneering these unexplored maps, hinting that they should not underestimate the difficulty of these places.
“You’ll have exclusive rights to explore the map for 72 hours. Once 72 hours have passed, the map will be made available to all players regardless of your exploration progress. We wish you good luck.” After cautiously informing Ye Ci of the limited time she had to explore the map, the system teleported Ye Ci into a map that she was unfamiliar with.
Out of habit, Ye Ci called out her minimap to assess her current whereabouts. However, all she could see on the minimap was darkness. She was momentarily shocked before remembering that this was the unexplored map, which would explain why it appeared differently. Closing her minimap, Ye Ci dug into her bag and took out a sheepskin roll.
This was the map Tick had appraised for her. However, Ye Ci noticed that the outer edges of the area were dark and it was unclear what the map said about these areas. She took out a torch from her bag and lit it up to see the minor details on the map more clearly.
“The map is now synchronized with the terrain, would you like to virtualize the map?” The system asked.
Virtualize the map? Even Ye Ci, who was a reincarnator, did not understand what the system meant. Yet as she thought about it, she accepted the choice. Immediately, the map in her hands disappeared and a transparent map appeared in front of her. She could see a tiny golden blip and a tiny green blip on the map, with the former indicating her position, and the latter was Ol’ Four.
With this, she would be able to traverse the place with the aid of her minimap.
Lifting the torch, she could see where she was very clearly. She was in a narrow cave. Tree roots grew unchecked throughout the cave via a hole in the ceiling. Mushrooms lined the walls of the cave, appearing full of vitality. The ground was moist, giving off a sticky sensation.
Ye Ci advanced carefully with Ol’ Four following closely behind her, always half a step away. The two soon walked into rays of golden light. It was the rays of a setting sun.
She heaved a sigh of relief upon realizing that the cave was actually not as long as she had expected. She hastened to walk out, when suddenly a sharp piercing voice screeched through the air. “Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!”
This voice was metallic and stiff. It was obvious the voice of an automaton. Ye Ci immediately sprinted towards the exit of the cave after a moment of hesitation. She spotted at least 8 automatons charging towards her.
Ye Ci cast Detection. The automatons didn’t have very high levels, with most of them at lvl 32 or lvl 33. However, they were Elite Monsters, which meant that they had higher HP than the average level of 32 or 33 monsters, and their damage would be higher as well. Without the slightest hesitation, she commanded Ol’ Four to attack while she supported it from behind with her ranged attacks.
Since Ol’ Four was a heavyweight mount, as long as it had high Loyalty, it would be an effective killing machine. It did not take long for Ye Ci to turn the automatons into scrap metal. She then proceeded to the drawbridge at the exit of the cave leading to the Hidden Treasure Gulf.
Perhaps due to the fact that the automatons were dispatched quickly, their cries of alarm did not summon any other monsters to their aid. It could also be that the automatons were just a farce designed to scare the players. Regardless of what it might be, Ye Ci became alert. She unslung her crossbow and advanced carefully, maintaining her vigilance. She would be ready if something were to happen.
What was strange was that Ye Ci had never encountered any offensive type NPCs. In fact, there was not a single NPC in sight. Ye Ci remained alert as she traversed through the Hidden Treasure Gulf. Before long, she was already at the harbor.
This was strange.
There wasn’t even a single NPC in sight. If Ye Ci remembered correctly, the Hidden Treasure Gulf was a populated place with not just a lot of NPCs, but with many players as well. Moreover, it wasn’t just players from the Eastern Continent that would gather here, there were players from other continents as well.
This was the advantage of being the pioneer explorer for the map.
Even though she had the benefit of exploring the map first, the area would eventually become available to the public. In order to receive players from the other continents, there would usually be a harbor in every hidden map. Of course, for the players from the other continents to visit the hidden map in a certain continent, they would need to fulfill a special requirement: They needed to unlock a hidden map in their home continent so that the harbors could be connected with each other.
However, Ye Ci remembered that in her previous life, the first hidden map to appear was in the North-West alliance. Furthermore, it was something that would only happen two and a half years later. If history hadn’t been affected by all the changes she had made by now, then that meant the Hidden Treasure Gulf wouldn’t welcome their first players from other continents for a long time.
Of course, this was what would happen in the future. The most pressing question right now was, why was there not a single NPC here?
She looked at the map in front of her. Ye Ci had already explored every inch of the map, but there were no signs of human life in the entire map, including the harbor.
Ye Ci made multiple rounds around the map, but still hadn’t discovered a thing. She hadn’t found even a single coin or anything worth value in this place. Was it because Hidden Treasure Gulf meant nothing could be seen, as indicated by its name? Ye Ci dug around in her memories for the day the map was revealed to the public. She could only remember that the invitation to the opened map had written, “It shall not disappoint!” illegibly. Remembering this did not help, as at the time she didn’t feel that it was inappropriate. Furthermore, only one person had the opportunity to unlock the map, so it was likely that it wasn’t helpful to anyone else either.
This appeared to be a fraud.
Sighing, Ye Ci decided to stop thinking of that invitation that didn’t even exist in this timeline. It was better to use her own wits to solve this instead.
Eight hours has passed and yet Ye Ci had still not found a single clue. Finally she decided to return to the entrance and search that area again.
She unsummoned Ol’ Four and explored the place by herself.
After one minute, she entered Stealth and slowly headed back to the port.
Just as she left the cave, Ye Ci could see the picture she clearly. Opposite the bridge was the deathly empty port. Now it was a splendidly lit town, completely different from before. She could even hear those sea songs being sung happily from one of the inns.
What was this situation?
Ye Ci decided to try out something and immediately came out of her Hidden State. Upon doing that, she could hear the voices of those small robots roar up once again. “Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!” At this point, Ye Ci saw that opposite her, the lights in the beautiful harbor had been extinguished and became completely dark.
So it was like this.
The corners of her mouth raised as Ye Ci summoned Ol Four to destroy the robots. Then she returned to the entrance and did the following. She dismissed Ol Four and cast camouflage as she pretended not to know anything. This time round, she chose not to encircle the area, and headed for the top of the Hidden Treasure Gulf.
This was because the leader of the Hidden Treasure Gulf, Town Leader Finny stayed there.
In this state, her movement speed was slow. To use this method to reach his hut was very time consuming. It was a good thing Ye Ci had patience. After spending over an hour to climb the hill, she finally reached Finny’s small wooden hut.
He was a leprechaun, cowardly and timid, but also at the same time shrewd yet cautious. Finny was standing at the window looking out at the surroundings. It appeared he was searching for something. After a while, he put down his binoculars and walked to his office to sit behind the table. He was proud of himself as he smiled. “Hey hey, that foreigner left. If they think they can play with me, they can forget about it!”
“Is that so?” Ye Ci answered in a slight mocking tone, a glint shining off the dagger she had pointed at his neck.
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