The time for the war was coming much closer than expected. During the days of training, I was practicing with a small sword. The sword proved to be difficult to use. Analyzing the 'Status', my skills as a swordsman was weak, which in turn will cause problems during battles. As a veteran 'Player' in the real world, my job was to gain experience. There are no rules involving the preparations for the War of the Crown, thus I decided to go further deep into a nearby Inn in my spare time. I wanted to find information about this world and perhaps i might find Joan along the way. I just hope that Alexandros doesn't catch up to me outside the 'Safe Zone'.
The Inn was named "The Maiden's Song". It was a legend of a maiden who got lost in the woods and, with her beautiful song, enchanted he creatures of the forest, including a god who was hunting. The legend concludes with the hunting god marrying the beautiful maiden and thus brought eternal beauty to the Forest of Stars, the forest that was nearby.
The inn was quite full, with commoners and merchants talking and drinking ale. It was a stench of alcohol that sweep my nose. Men were brawling with each other, women were gossiping and giggling from their scandalous secrets. I realize that while scanning the guests, they were all NPC. No 'Players' detected. But, I noticed that someone on the stall was busy reading a book and scanned his status. There was nothing relevant to say about it. No description at all. Did i do it wrong?
"Umm...hello?" I asked as he was entranced reading his book. I couldn't see his face because it was covered with a green coat. He moved his head slightly. "May I sit down?"
He nodded slowly, not saying a word. I instantly sat down and placed my hands on top of the dirty table.The stickiness disgusted me that I regretted placing on it.
"And you are...?" The coat man said with a low voice.
"My name is Alister. A traveler of Casthynia. I just stopped by to find information around."
He flipped a page. "A traveler? No. You are not." I couldn't see his face but I knew he was watching me. "You are a 'Player', are you not?"
I staggered but I nodded. "Yes. I'm a 'Player'. I'm here to participate on a war."
I heard him sighed. "Then you must be the unluckiest person to be a 'Player'. I doubt you will ever win the war, much less find the Crown of Infinity. It's a curse that most of us here will have to bear when it starts."
"What do you mean? Please tell me." I asked curiously.
He closed his book. "There were many wars like this. Many died trying to reach for the Crown, but no one has ever done it. No one can win. Not even 'players'. Once the war starts, many people will die as a casualty, and this world will wither away as it always had."
"Does the Crown really exist? Can it really create or destroy worlds?"
"Who knows. I never had the honor to see it. The only thing i know is, the crown supposedly lies on a huge castle deep in Casthynia named Heaven's Castle. But in order to proceed, you must assassinate the eleven 'players' and their 'Masters'.
The lady of the bar came to our table and asked for drinks. I waved at her for water, but the coat man didn't say anything.
"So, what do you recommend me? How do I win?" I asked.
For a moment, he didn't spill a word. But, his head moved. "The only thing I can say to you is that death itself is your own salvation."
A sudden coldness ran on my spine. His words froze me. What kind of recommendation is that? Is this guy insane? I should probably hadn't sat with him talking about this.
"I can see that you are frustrated by my answer. It's only natural that you will feel that. After all, you are at level 5 and you don't have much experience in battle. Don't get this on the wrong way. that is my sole recommendation. If you like to take it, that's your choice. However," His eyes flashed for a moment. "During your journey, tragedy will befall to you."
My lips were sealed. I was scared of what he said to me. His words were...real somehow. Coming from an NPC, he talks with such ease that I'm baffled at his responses. The Green Coat Man is such a mystery to me. Who is him?
"How do you know all of this?" I asked while scratching my head. He grabbed the book from the table. "My memories. I have been writing my memories on this book, and ever since it has not failed me. The only thing that i haven't written here is my name, as i have forgotten it a long time."
His voice changed to a melancholy sound. "Listen, Alister, you look like a nice guy. However, this world is nothing more than cursed. Eventually, you will lose the memories that you cherished during your time here. Your very existence, your sense of will, will come apart when the war ends. Even I will be a shell in this world. Just like what happened to my friends. My only hope in life...is to find a purpose."
I didn't say anything. His voice, his manners when he talked...it looked similar to mine. He stands alone in this world, trying to find purpose in life. I too am lost here, trying to find a way out, to escape and live a normal life. But, inside of my soul, I know that...finding Joan is my right task to fulfill. Once I do, I will ditch the war and find a way out.
"Well then," he said while retrieving his book. "I must be off. I have to head into the forest and get back home. I wish you luck, Alister. Although, I do not know you need it."
But before he left, a burning hope came out. "Wait...At least answer me this. Do you know...a woman named Joan? She has red hair and emerald eyes. I'm trying to find her. We were separated when we came to this world."
But my hope was shattered when he shook his head. "I'm sorry, Alister. I do not know her or seen her. But, I hope you find her before it's too late." And thus he retreated with his book in hand outside the tavern, leaving me with such loneliness in my heart.
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