Starfall Year 832, the light reflection of April. Fort Ares located southeast of the northern Empire had fallen after being invaded by unknown creatures. 58,000 civilians, 3,200 regular army members, 140 Silver-tier knights in the garrison, and two Gold-tier powerful beings who had [Glorious Strength] had all disappeared. They were all presumed dead.
In Continental War, there were many civilians with at least the power level of Steel. Nearly 3,500 regular soldiers would be enough to sweep out the daemons across the radius of dozens of miles. Furthermore, there were also two Gold tiers. Unless the elder dragons attacked, Fort Ares which had forty-meter-tall walls around it should have been fortified into an unbreakable fortress. Even if the elder dragons struck, the people in the fortress should still be able to send out distress calls for help.
However, even though that was the case, when the Empire noticed that they had lost contact with the fortress and sent their men to scout the fortress, they found it in ruins. The high walls had crumbled to the ground. Only a few broken columns stood among the wreckage. The entire fortress looked like it was run over by something destructive.
Meanwhile, the investigators had found a number of large dark holes in the surroundings of the wreckage, with each one being a diameter of tens of meters. There were some mucus and body parts that remained hanging on the edges of the stone walls. The place was filled with the unbearable stench of blood. The stench could really be discomforting to anyone who inhaled. Not long after that, these holes suddenly collapsed, destroying all evidence along with it.
That was [The Fall of Ares] that once shook the world. When the officials of the Empire found out about it, they were furious. The Empire's five armies had gone through the border of the south over eight times. They had swept through every corner across thousands of square kilometers of the Dark Forest. No matter how they outraged they were about the incident, no one managed to find out the truth.
In the game, [The Fall of Ares] was only narrated as the background of a story. However, the area where the players were active did not include the border of the fortress at that time. So everyone only knew very little about the incident.
However, by the end of the third expansion of the game, the seal of the abyss was uncovered. Right in the middle of the sulphuric smoke which was abundant enough to shield the sky and the mountains, there was an immeasurable gigantic Terraria Dhole Worm that was hundreds of meters long. The dhole worm was accompanied by a blazing meteor shower and countless demons which broke out from the ground to reveal themselves to everyone. The worm was capable of spitting venom. The moment it revealed itself, it could cause a violent earthquake that would affect several cities. It could destroy the city walls to bits without much effort. Sticky liquid with a strong stench would be splattered into the surroundings, emitting out waves of chaos energy to cause interference to means of communication.
After seeing the monster, everyone understood. It was obvious that this was the thing that destroyed Fort Ares 20 years ago.
However, no matter what, a dhole worm was one of the ancient creatures in the abyss. When the entrance was sealed, the only ones that could summon them would be
Present, Starfall Year 831. The main city of Moldavia. Study room of the Northern Frost leader.
"Alphonso, I've given you the recommendation letter addressed to the dwarves. Now, I need you to do one thing for me."
Sitting in a chair comfortably, Joshua looked at Alphonso with a serious face. The middle-aged merchant held a paper and a pen before he spoke, "You'll walk through the capital of the Empire and make some trades along your way back, am I right?"
"Yes, I'll probably stay in the Empire for about half a month. I'll complete some trading first before I head even further south."
Alphonso nodded his head, looking slightly puzzled. "My liege, do you need us to bring some special local products with our return? There's no need for you to treat this as a mission. As long as you wish for it, I would be happy to bring a large amount back."
"Yes... and no."
Joshua frowned as he shook his head. He then he signaled Alphonso to pass the pen and paper to him. After the warrior received the pen and paper from the middle-aged merchant, he began to write on the paper. Then he spoke at the same time, "I really need you to help me bring some things back. However, it's not any of the local products Alphonso, you do know that the Empire will hold an auction in spring, when the grass is still green every single year? They'd do that every time to celebrate the end of winter."
"Of course, my liege. However, that auction is always purely for festive reasons. No one would really put any precious thing in that auction. Only the rich would auction their books and some antiques for the sake of entertainment" said Alphonso before coming to a realization."My liege, do you require me to purchase something that you need? But"
"I don't need that actually," Muttering to himself softly, Joshua sighed and showed the middle-aged man what he wrote and drew on the paper.
"Well, probably just one of these three. I'm not sure if you'd come across these things as well. However, if you do, just buy them and bring them back to me. You'll be well rewarded."
"How can I accept your great reward?"
Alphonso did not seem to be bothered by it at all. He looked at the things on the paper and replied with confidence, "These things are not expensive in the first place, in any of the previous auctions. If you insist on getting them, we can just skip talking about the prices A key, a multi-sided object, and a book? The Book of Eibon? Your drawing skills are surprisingly impressive, my liege."
"I've learned the art of drawing for quite some time back then. As for the names, they're just estimations. I just heard about them from someplace else." Joshua gave the pictures to Alphonso as a reference. After that, he stood up and walked to the side of the window, "One silver key, and one multi-sided object with twenty-four sides that glows. As for the book, there's nothing special about it. I've given you its name. So it shouldn't be a problem for you."
"Rest assured that I'll get it done, my liege," promised Alphonso confidently. "As long as these items are available in the auction, I'll definitely get them and bring them back to you."
"I do hope so."
After waving his hand, Joshua's focus was not fixed on the merchant before him. He was drifting off to a deep part of his memories.
According to the mindset of the players in his other life, the destruction of Fort Ares was nobody's fault but their own. It was actually mentioned before, when the royal records were decrypted. Among the discoveries, there were descriptions stating that 'they had attempted to summon demons and even the evil gods' and 'the magic of chaos flows like water, distorting the natural surroundings'. Judging from those descriptions, someone one must have done some sort of ritual or experiment which led to the destruction of Fort Ares.
The person responsible probably did not intend to get himself killed. That person was most likely did all that due to curiosity. Another possibility was the person cursed by existing Evil Gods that led him to lose his sanity. Whatever it was, the death of over 60,000 people and the destruction of one fortress was an unbearable lost to the southern Kingdom. If the Empire's five armies did not sweep through the area, the Dark Forest might have spread across the entire southern region over thousands of kilometers. The Dark Tide might have tainted countless parts of the land and consumed countless homes and farms.
In Joshua's raid party, his right-hand man was a professional beta tester. Joshua had been listening to the man share all about it while they were clearing dungeons. So he could remember quite a number of things about it. As for now, Joshua could remember that a person would require some special instruments to summon demons and other monsters from the depth of the abyss. Among the instruments required were a silver key, shiny multi-sided object, and many other strange objects. Many types of magic books were required as well. At that time, the warrior was not interested in such things, so he could only recall three of them now. As such, he did not order Alphonso to search for them on purpose.
According to the records, when the archmage of Fort Ares arrived at the Empire for his duty, he only went out alone once to participate in the spring auction. Not long after he returned to the fortress, the calamity that leveled the fortress happened. The logic was so simple that people did not have to think to understand it. That archmage must have acquired some dangerous items and his experiment went wrong.
Standing by the window, Joshua began to have his own thoughts. He seemed to be relaxed though. Now that I've arrived in this world, I think I need to make some changes. Setting the north aside for now, I think it's time to change some things that I know would happen. 60,000 lives are at stake now. I think it's worth a shot. I have to try regardless if it will work or not.
Joshua looked out of the window. The sun had completely set, signaling the arrival of night. Other than the howling of the northern wind, there were not many sounds left in the city. There were only a few glimpses of light along the dark streets.
"This world is really interesting."
The warrior suddenly sighed. He turned around and smiled at the middle-aged merchant who seemed to know nothing about his thoughts.
"Alphonso, you and I are trying to change the destiny that has been fixed by the gods."
Looking at the puzzled face of the merchant, Joshua shook his head and smiled. "It's alright that you don't understand. It's late now, I'm going to head back soon."
The words were unclear in the beginning. However, this sentence was simple and clear. Alphonso immediately stood up on his feet.
"Allow me to escort you out of the room."
"You don't have to be so courteous. Just let your butler do it. You've been snatching his work from him all day long. I feel uncomfortable looking at what you're doing to him."
Upon waving his hand around, Joshua gave another order, "Whether you can find what I want you to find, send a magic message to St. Laurent Cathedral immediately after the auction has ended. I'll give you the next instructions after that."
"Yes, my liege."