Esmeralda Lysnerger could be said to be quite a monumental character.
It was because she was the first villain to appear in 'Clouds on the Horizon', and she was also the villain who appeared and showed her face in an attempt to be forgotten.
In addition, she was also a madam character who had contact with almost every playable character.
In terms of importance, she was a different person from Isabelle Gaudi, who died a few days ago.
Above all, it was not an exaggeration to say that her appearance started all the events.
‘Is the reason you came here to steal the artifact to be delivered in the afternoon’
Of course, at her level of force, she could simply take it from there.
But the criminal group to which she now belonged, the Red Case, was trying to avoid drawing attention to itself.
‘And the two main characters are the ones who deliver the artifact.’
And now I had to piggyback on those two.
Sooner or later, the two of them would be here.
"I'll wait here, just let me know if you need anything."
I sat down on a plastic chair in the record room and began to sort out what was going to happen.
It was an important event, so I could remember it clearly, but even so, it was a story about a game I played almost a decade ago, so I couldn't help but feel anxious.
‘When I go back today, I should write it down in more detail.’
Although I put a rough story in my notebook, I couldn't help but feel that it wasn't enough no matter how much time I put into it.
I wrote down some big events and important information, but I had to leave the possibility open at any time that the story could be tangled because of who I am.
Originally, the artifact should have been delivered at least a month ago.
However, on their way to deliver it, the two main characters meet a civilian who was threatened by a monster and missed the deadline to help them.
Moreover, they had also missed the academy's exam period, leaving the two in a tight position to wait another year.
Meanwhile, after the delivery was over, the director, who was a close friend of their master, favors the two to spend the night at his house.
And the next day, the artifact disappeared without a trace, and conclusive evidence came out that one of the two main characters is the culprit…….
‘It was roughly like this.’
Of course, the culprit was Esmeralda.
She stole the artifact and made up an alibi to keep herself out of the line of suspicion, and also to frame one of the main characters.
In the original story, it was another employee who guided her.
And after falling for Esmeralda in just one day, he gave a false testimony for her.
If so, would she urge me to give false testimony to put up an alibi
If it's not me....
'Let's be careful.
Because they might put the blame on me.’
It was right after I came to that conclusion.
Esmeralda, no, Amelda, who was holding the copied materials in her arms, said to me.
“Can we go somewhere else”
“Sure, I'll carry your luggage.”
"Oh, thank you.
Then only half...
After sharing some of the luggage with Amelda, I immediately started guiding her to where she wanted to go.
“Can we go to the next place where the comparative analysis data of the East and the West are gathered”
"That's probably too many criteria, so you'd better decide what criteria you want first."
“Oh, then… .”
I had to show her around first.
I wouldn't be able to leave her guide for at least a while.
As we walked side by side, she suddenly looked over at me and said.
“But Ji-Hyuk, you look very young.”
“Amelda, you also look very young.”
She laughed at my answer and lightly touched my shoulder.
I thought she was in her mid-twenties now.
She had such a baby face that even now, dressed as a high school student, she didn't look out of place.
"If it's not too rude, may I ask how old you are"
When I answered, she looked at me in surprise.
“Oh, my God.
You don't just look young, you are really young, aren't you"
“Well, everyone has their own circumstances.”
As I shrugged my shoulders, Amelda gave me a thoughtful look for a moment.
“So you're an Academy student I think you've trained yourself a little bit."
"Yes, my admission has been confirmed for now."
I smiled bitterly at her congratulations.
Of course, I didn't forget to give off an atmosphere of 'a mountain of worries.'
"Thank you, but I'm not good enough."
“Hey, self-deprecation is not good.”
Saying so, I shrugged.
“I don’t have much time to spare, but I’m worried about whether I will be able to get a scholarship.”
“I'm worried that I've caused more trouble than I should have, because of my greed.… Well, that's that.”
She nodded silently as I spoke.
That was the end of the conversation.
Then we spent some time roaming the archives, copying and transcribing.
It was about two hours later.
She had copied and browsed through a lot of materials, and soon we were in front of a large archive.
Seeing that, I smiled a little.
If she hadn't stopped by, I'd have to look for it separately, but fortunately, she stopped in front of where I wanted to go.
"Do you mind if I try to find the material here this time”
I nodded in response to her question and looked briefly at the sign.
It was a simple name, but the records here were amazing in many ways.
It was because it was a place where all kinds of records of heroes who were strong enough to be counted among the many heroes, or who had achieved great things, were collected.
It was said that they even scanned and stored things like doodles and drawings that they had left behind when they were students.
And this was the reason why I had gone to all the trouble to live here for a week.
‘The relic of the Shadow Walker.’
One of the hidden pieces of the original main character that could be obtained from the archives here.
Because it was is hidden here.
It was also the name of the profession that one of the playable characters awakens, and he was one of the strongest players in this world in the past.
Known as a legendary thief, he left behind several relics, among which the most intimidating and universally usable one was buried in this archive.
According to the original story, it was possible to obtain it only by infiltrating this archive and performing a quest that had to be snuck away from the eyes of a nonsensical strongman named General Jang, along with tight security, unlike its poor appearance.
However, due to the authority granted by the director, I was able to easily bypass all the strict security measures.
General Jang, who was the most difficult, told me that he would buy me dinner later, and to call him when I was done, and then he went back to his office.
In other words, I could get my hands on the artifact without any worries.
“It’s amazing… .”
Looking at the huge amount of data, Amelda exclaimed with pure admiration.
And it was the same with me.
The game had inevitably simplified it, but seeing it in person was amazingly intimidating.
If I didn't know any information about the material I needed to find, I would have had to stay up all night for several days.
"This may take longer than I thought.”
She nodded in astonishment, and said that.
I watched her for a moment, then asked her casually.
"Can I help you"
It seems to be very difficult for you to do it alone, no matter how long it takes."
Then, Amelda told me the names of some people and asked for their records.
Seeing that I couldn't remember anything at all, I didn't think they were important enough to remember.
After being a short distance away from Amelda, I immediately moved on.
I was able to find as many materials as she asked, and since she wasn't really looking for them in the first place, I figured I wouldn't have a problem getting them at random.
'Is it this way'
The place where Shadow Walker's materials were gathered.
Perhaps thanks to the paradoxical title of a famous legendary thief, there were quite a lot of data about him.
Above all, it was enough to fill about three large bookshelves, so it would have been endless to search for them one by one.
"…here it is."
I was able to find the material I was looking for in a place where such Shadow Walker materials were gathered.
‘The essence of cooking.’
It was a book he wrote while he was a cook among the statuses he used as a disguise.
I peeked into the contents, but it was really a book with a record of recipes that were truly ordinary.
And, inside, one of his relics was hidden.
"Let's see… Oh, here it is.”
As I continued to search the book, I opened the pages that were all black.
If someone unfamiliar with it saw it, they would think there must have been an error during the printing, so they would just skip this part.
And I put my finger on one part of the page.
I pulled out the branches of the World Tree and started using it like an awl to pierce through the book.
Even though the branch had been pulled out to the extent that it would have been pierced the book and gone out of it, there was no apparent change.
Like a swamp, the book constantly swallowed up the branches of the World Tree.
'It feels really weird.’
Then, as if caught in something, the branch of the World Tree could no longer penetrate into the book.
As I stood still in that state, something sticky black began to climb up the branches of the World Tree and gradually toward my finger.
I shuddered at the feeling of a sticky, cold slug climbing.
As I looked at it, the black thing that was climbing up on my finger rose for a while and stopped moving at the wrist.
Then it procrastinated and shrunk, drawing a small pattern on one part of my wrists.
I waited until it stopped and carefully retrieved the branch of the World Tree that had penetrated the book.
When all was done, the blackened portion of the book had faded a bit, and a small pattern had been etched on one of my wrists, like a mini-tattoo.
“… … .”
I did not feel anything like I did at the branches of the World Tree.
So I took out the game console and checked the status, and there was definitely new information updated there.
Henir's Shadow (Bonded / Parasitic / Growth / Legendary)
― It belongs to the owner.
― Parasitic on the owner and cannot be forcibly removed.
― It has its own will, and there is room for growth.
― Increases overall physical ability.
― Footsteps and actions become stealthy and soundless.
― If you hide in the dark, your presence will be significantly reduced.
― If the owner is in danger, Henir's Shadow can take a separate action at his own discretion.
― You can cast Henir's shadow at will.
However, the current power is weak and difficult to control, and Henir's Shadow may reject any unfair orders.
― Hernir's shadow can be wrapped around a part of the body and used as armor.
I smiled quietly as I checked the information.
I had finally gotten all the two Hidden Pieces I had wanted to get before I entered the academy.
I put the book back in its original place and looked down.
And the shadows changed shape at will, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was reacting slowly and moving sluggishly.
‘It's going to take a lot of practice.'
While I was at it, I tried to wrap it around my body and use it like armor, but I could only wrap around one arm at most.
However, Henir's shadow, despite its appearance, had tremendous protective ability, so I had obtained a useful tool.
I put the shadow in and stepped away.
I thought it was time to say goodbye to this place.
“Hey, Ji-Hyuk Can you help me, by any chance I just can't find it!”
But before that, I had to finish what I need to do first.
* * *
That was how Amelda and I got out of the archives after completing our respective tasks.
Each of us had the materials we had found in our hands, and Amelda had a very tired expression on her face.
“Ugh… … .”
Then Amelda stretched and straightened as if she was stiff.
And her hips were lifted quite deliberately.
‘Oh, my God.'
I averted my gaze as naturally as I could.
Amelda squirmed softly and spoke to me.
“Thanks to you, Ji-Hyuk, I feel much better.
Thank you for helping me."
I'm glad I could help."
As she looked at me and smiled, I smiled a little too.
She immediately spoke to me.
“I want to see the director for a while, but wouldn’t it be a bother if I go now”
“I was told he has an important appointment in the afternoon.”
She clapped as if she had forgotten.
Then she put on an urgent look.
"What should I do It's really important.
Even talking about it...
I was silent for a moment with a look of contemplation.
“If that’s the case, why don't you wait in front of the director's office"
"Would that be all right"
“First of all, Amelda, you are a guest.
I think it'll be okay if it's you, who came from the top to the official letter.”
“It would be nice if that is the case.”
She and I immediately headed for the director's office.
Then, in front of the director's office, there was someone else who had come beside us.
It was General Jang.
He was holding some files in his arms, and he looked at me and Amelda alternately and asked me.
“What's going on Didn't you take the job of showing Amelda around"
I did, but Amelda said she had an urgent need to see the director.”
General Jang looked at Amelda.
Then he asked in a slightly blunt voice.
“Is it urgent”
When Amelda answered with a small smile, General Jang said in a slightly softened voice.
“Now the director is talking to his guests.
If it's really urgent, I can tell him for you."
"Oh, well, It's something personal."
General Jang nodded his head for a moment while muttering to himself.
Then he glanced at Amelda and said.
“Please wait a moment.”
General Jang said so and went into the director's room with Knock.
After a few moments, General Jang, with only his head poked out, said to Amelda.
"Please come in."
"Oh, thank you!"
Amelda nodded, bowed her head, and went inside.
As I stared blankly at her, General Jang nodded accusingly at me.
"What are you doing, you come in, too.”
"So you're going to wait outside Come on in.”
I took his words as a blessing and silently walked into the office while pretending I couldn't win.
And when I saw the first two men and women in the director's office, I was struck by an indescribable feeling.
The pearls of ‘Clouds of the Horizon’.
And two heroes.
My name is Choi Hyun-Woo.”
“I'm Han Soo-Young.
It's nice to meet you."
Choi Hyun-Woo and Han Soo-Young.
They are the true protagonists of this world, with the talents of a swordmaster and an archmage respectively.
When I saw the two of them, I hesitated for a moment, feeling more emotion than I could ever imagine.
"It's nice to meet you."
It wasn't until a little later that I realized that the game console in my arms was flashing.
“I am Yoo Ji-Hyuk.”
[A quest has been created!]
Han Soo-Young illustration on discord server.