The Devil's Cage Chapter 38


Chapter 38: The Smoking Pipe and the Deerstalker

[Background: The daughter of a renowned businessman by the name Hunter has gone missing. You, as the citys greatest detective, have been hired to find his precious daughter. You are now heading to Hunters manor to investigate]

[Main Mission: Find Altilly Hunter, dead or alive, within a month.]

[Temporary language pack, disappears upon exiting the dungeon.]

[Clothing, backpack, weapons, items, attributes remain unchanged, temporarily changed look, disappears upon exiting the dungeon.]

[Inspecting firearms and grenades Weapons do not match the current year, damage reduced by 50%, handgun reloading speed +1 seconds, sniper reloading speed +30 seconds]

[Hint 1: This is your first official dungeon. You can fail the main mission, but you will have to pay 100 Points as a penalty, and your highest attributes will drop by 1. If your points are insufficient, the system will deduct from your equipment. If your equipment is insufficient, you will fail.]

[Hint 2: The real dungeon marks the beginning of the title mission. The title mission and sub mission are both hidden. You will need to discover them yourself.]

...

When the blinding light subsided, Kieran heard a series of gallops and the sound of a wheel splashing through a puddle on the ground. His body was bouncing in a orderly manner.

It had been raining the day before and the roads were full of puddles of water. There were people cleaning them, but only the bigger puddles were cleaned off completely.

The smaller puddles that the wheels were splashing into were hard for the cleaners to get rid off.

"A horse wagon?"

Kieran looked around with a startled face.

It was an average cabin with a three to four person capacity. There were two rows of seats, front and back, facing each other. Kieran was sitting in the back, facing the front. He could see clearly the passing view through the window of the cabin.

They were in a Victorian Era street. Antique cars passed by from time to time, allowing Kieran to estimate the date.

The people on the streets greeted each other by taking off their hats. The men wore suits, and the women wore long parasol skirts.

Kieran himself was wearing a black trenchcoat. While he was inspecting his new outfit, he noticed that he was holding a smoking pipe and wearing a deerstalker. After checking the background message, "You are the citys greatest detective", he raised his eyebrow and wondered...

"If you want me to cosplay as Sherlock Holmes, you might as well give me a Watson to go with it! The female version, that is!"

"Searching the missing link? Firearms damaged and decreased?"

After his wild guess about his outfit, he noticed the introduction of the dungeon stating that his firearm abilities had been decreased. He frowned at that.

Decreased, damaged, increased reloading time No doubt those were big disadvantages for Kieran. His fighting power had to have been reduced by 30% or so.

"So this is what Lawless meant by restrictions, huh?" Kieran could not help but mumble.

Before entering the dungeon, Kieran had waited for three hours for Lawless to return just to have a talk with him. Lawless had been generous enough to share some information with Kieran, most likely because he had accomplished what hed wanted to through his trade with him. Kieran could feel his excitement from the mere words they exchanged through messages.

Basically, the information he got could be categorized into four parts.

First, veteran players had created a secret bazaar within the game. It would only open its door every month for a certain period. Any player could enter by paying a 10-point entry fee. Inside, it housed tons of high-rank equipment that exceeded the quality of the forum.

Secondly, the dungeon would change according to the environment and year, and generate different restrictions for the players. Some were good, some were bad. The majority were bad.

Third, the dungeons the players cleared would not change difficulty because the player had gotten stronger. That would change according to the times the player had entered the game. When entry times increased, the dungeons difficulty would as well. The [Team Dungeon] difficulty would change according to the average entry times of the players.

Last but not least, players were allowed to fail the mission of the dungeon, but would have to suffer a penalty. Depending on the number of times they had failed, the penalty could be more or less serious.

[This is your first real dungeon. You may fail the main mission, but you will need to pay 100 Points as penalty, and your highest attributes will drop by 1.]

Kieran looked at that specific hint as he recalled Lawlesss kind warning.

"If you dont want to die a gruesome death, you must finish the main mission. Even if you cant, you will compensate for your losses!"

Kieran could not agree more with that statement.

100 Points were nothing for him, but his highest stats decreasing by 1 would be a big loss. Kieran could not afford such a heavy penalty.

If his stats decreased, the cost would be almost same as the cost of leveling [Tracking] up to Master level.

A hefty sum of 3,000 Points and 2 Skill Points.

Although his calculations were just an estimation, they were not too far from reality.

Kieran could imagine the state that he would be in if he failed the dungeons main mission.

It would be an abysmal death cycle.

If he did not complete the dungeons main mission, other than losing points and having his attributes drop, it would also affect badly the second dungeons main mission.

Since his stats would have been lowered, Kieran would eventually fail the second mission too, and pay the penalty once more.

It would go on and on and on It would be an endless vicious cycle with self-explanatory results.

A weak player facing a vicious beast could only end up in a massacre.

"Not only do I need to finish the main mission, but if possible, I also need to finish the submission, as well as the title mission. Only then will I be able to survive and have better odds in the other dungeons!"

Kieran knew that dungeon difficulty changed based on entry times, so he knew what he was supposed to do.

He was already one step ahead of the other players.

Using his rewards from the newbie dungeon, he had progressed much further than them.

It was the tools that made the handyman after all.

Kieran quickly prepared himself for the upcoming mission.

He looked at his own tactical backpack, but it had already changed.

A wooden box about 1.5 m long and 45 cm wide was placed beside Kierans hand. It was covered in black paint and locked with two silver pearl security locks. A leather belt was tied over it to use as a strap for carrying it. On the upper part of the strap, two keys were hanging- a small one and a big one.

When Kieran touched the big key, his mind was filled with simple memories, including but not limited to the past years knowledge- his characters identity, contacts and address.

When he absorbed the new memories, Kieran took the small key and opened the box.

It was easy to unlock.

The box held the sniper rifle [Viper-M1], the [M1905] handgun, the dagger, five [U-II] hand grenades, three cans of food, and three bottles of water. Everything was arranged neaty inside, nothing was missing. Even the magazines were arranged together.

Although the look of the equipment had been altered a little to fit the era that Kieran was in, the method of using them was still the same.

Kieran let out a breath of relief.

If the method of using his equipment changed according to the year, it would have been a nightmare for him.

Although his [Firearm (Light Firearm)] had already reached Master level, it had not really taught Kieran how to use all kinds of guns and firearms. That part had to fall under the [Firearm (Special Firearm)] category.

Kieran took out the dagger and the [M1905], and stuck them on both sides of his waist, covering them up with his trenchcoat.

After some thought, he took out the [U-II] grenades as well and hid them in the outer pocket of his coat.

Even if the main mission was searching for a missing person, Kieran would have been naive to believe that searching was all he would need to do.

An unexpected battle was sure to occur.

In other words, "discovery and battle" were the theme of the underground game dungeon.

If the [Viper-M1] was not too eye-catching, he would have hidden it under his coat. He would not have minded bringing it along as well, but hed had to leave it behind in the box.

After all, Kieran was the citys greatest detective, not some kind of assassin.

He was just starting this dungeon, and he did not want to do anything that did not match the setting and could potentially attract unwanted attention.

Even if he really had been an assassin, he would not carry the sniper rifle out in the open.

This was not a war-ridden city like the one in the newbie dungeon.

It was a safe, peaceful, quite wealthy city.

Or at least thats what it looked like.

...

"Sir, we will be there soon!"

The wagoner spoke to Kieran through the small window in the cabin. After about two minutes, the wagon stopped completely, and the wagoner opened the cabin door.

Kieran carried his box as he jumped out of the wagon.

He started to inspect his surroundings. As mentioned in the introduction, there was a manor with fields of green grass and fountains. There was even a wall surrounding the manor.

In front of him, at the center of the compound, was a big house with five floors.

Kieran stood in front of a mermaid fountain statue and looked towards the blue and white exterior of the building. It reminded him of the waves of the sea.

Especially the lively mermaid statue in front of him, which really made one feel as if they were in the middle of the sea.

"There was an admiral in House Hunter about a hundred years ago. Greetings, Sir Kieran. I'm the butler of the Hunter family."

After a short introduction, a kind-looking elderly gentleman approached and greeted Kieran with a bow.

Meanwhile, the wagoner, accompanied by a couple of young men, pulled the horse wagon into the stable and parked it.

Kieran briefly scanned over the young men. They all looked strong and fit. Perhaps they had been trained in combat as well.

"The manor needed guards, just the police was not enough," the kind butler explained, elaborating further. "Please, if you may, Master is expecting you."

With a welcoming gesture, the butler guided Kieran inside.

Kieran followed with a nod, going up the flight of stairs and into the building.

There was a broad corridor, covered with a bright red velvet carpet, both sides of it decorated with candlesticks.

When he reached the end of the corridor, Kierans eyes were blinded by the light.

A grand, glamorous hall appeared in front of him, crystal lights hanging from the top, reflecting the lights, instantly brightening up the entire hall.

However, the master of the hall seemed to be in a gloomy mood.

He was a pale, stout middle-aged man of average height.

Behind him was a middle-aged woman who shared the same facial expression.

By looking at the paintings in the middle of the hall, Kieran could tell that this was the master of the house, Hunter himself, and his wife.

Although the paintings had to be about a decade old, neither of them had aged much. They were both still recognizable.

When the master saw Kieran come in, he immediately stood up and voiced his request, "Sir Detective! Please help us!"