The Devil's Cage Chapter 69


Chapter 69: Biting Cold

Lawless could not stand his impatience, so he replied right away.

...

Lawless: 10,000 Points. He'll deposit half of it first. All expenses are included, but you're not entitled to any of the points at the end of the dungeon. You'll only clear the Main Mission, nothing else.

2567: Such a good pay?

Lawless: Not really. The guy is an evil businessman, why would he give you an advantage?

Lawless: When you sold the two [Tekken-II] rocket launchers, you got 10,000 Points from Steam City, 5 SP, and 4,000 Points, 2 SP from me, and the [Basic Medicine Crafting Platform Blueprint] plus the [Single Dungeon Cooldown Reset Card]!

Lawless: According to my calculations, you have a total of 14,000 Points, 6 SP. If you were able to bring 2 [Tekken-II]s from the dungeon, then your rewards must have been good. Even if you used the [Medicine Crafting Platform], you should have at least one Pro Level Skill and one Master Level Skill respectively!

Lawless: Not to mention that you just sold a bunch of jewels! That alone would be enough to get two Pro Level Skills!

Lawless: Of course, that ass doesn't know about this!

Lawless: 10,000 Points to hire a mercenary with Pro Level Skills seems like a fair price to me!

...

Lawless' precise calculations made Kieran shrug coldly. No one liked their secrets being known by others. Lawless was special, though. As Kierans second trade veteran player and the man who had introduced him to Blacksmith, all it had taken was a little eye for detail for him to use the points and predict Kierans strength accurately.

The only thing Lawless did not know was the things Kieran had gained in the dungeon. It was also the reason why Kieran had continued to deal with him. Because he could never have guessed that Kieran could have gotten an SS rating along with the [Knights of Dawn Body Tempering Art] and the [Barsical Kick] skills. Besides, Lawless had displayed a certain level of trustworthiness.

If that was not the case, Kieran would not have minded heading to the secret bazaar during the cooldown time of the dungeon, while he waited for the guild war between the Steam City and the Iron Chariots to end. It was supposed to open that day, but the opening had been delayed because of the guild war.

Fortunately, from the looks of it, the war would not last very long. Kieran could tell by the explosions, which had been dimming down. No one knew who would be the winner, though. The Steam City might have bought his [Tekken-II] rocket launcher, but no one knew what tricks the Iron Chariots had up their sleeves. Anyhow, this was none of Kierans concern. He was not a member of either guilds.

He collected his thoughts and focused on Lawlesss words, thinking hard about the situation.

If there was a contract, Kieran would not mind entering a team dungeon, even if that particular dungeon exceeded his level of difficulty. He was quite confident of his own strength, even if he could not confirm where he ranked among the rest of the players.

Still, according to his speculations, he had to be stronger than the average player who had been through three or four dungeons.

Lawless had mentioned that the man was going into his fifth dungeon, and wanted a player who did not exceed four times inside a dungeon. Kieran could tell that the teams average dungeon entry times would most likely be four, but in any case would not exceed five.

Otherwise, there would be no point in hiring him. Although it was only the fourth time, Kieran was quite confident that he could clear the dungeon.

Plus, there were also other reasons that could persuade him. The higher number of entry times would increase the level of difficulty, but the rewards would increase along with it too.

Between a second time single player dungeon and a fourth time team dungeon, the latter would surely be much more rewarding.

However, potential rewards aside, Kieran was still quite attracted by the pay. 10,000 Points and all expenses covered, but no points from the dungeon.

Judging by his own first dungeon, an SS rating reward was only 8,000 Points, 5 Skill Points, 1 Golden Skill Point and 1 Golden Attribute Point respectively. It kind of proved that they were quite sincere about hiring him, because no matter the rating in the end, Kieran would still earn 10,000 Points and other potential loot. He sure would not mind increasing his own benefits, though.

He started writing back to Lawless.

"2567: I have 3 Pro Level Skills, [Hand-to-Hand Combat], [Firearm Weapon (Light Firearm)], and [Evading]!"

After some consideration, Kieran had decided to reveal the skills that he had. He would not be able to keep the [Lightning Tigers Finger] and the [Viper-M1] a secret from his team, and the same went for [Evading]. If any battle occurred, his Pro Level [Evading] would be impossible to hide.

Therefore, it was better to let them know now rather than have them discover it later inside the dungeon. He might as well use that information to raise his own status and get more things out of the deal.

As for the rest of his skills, Kieran wanted to keep those a secret for now. He would prefer that others not know exactly what he was capable of, especially complete strangers.

...

Lawless: You want me to tell that guy that you want to bargain about your pay?

...

After a little delay, Lawless seemed to get what Kieran wanted.

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Lawless: How many times have you cleared a dungeon?

Lawless: If it's not that many, raising the price will be a piece of cake!

Lawless: Those cowards always like to find people with enough strength and power, but less dungeon entries!

Lawless: So which dungeon is it? The 3rd? The 4th?

2567: 2nd.

Lawless:

Lawless:

...

The series of dots he got as an answer implied Lawless' surprise. After a full five seconds, Lawless bombarded Kieran with messages.

...

Lawless: What the hell! Does that mean you got two [Tekken-II]s from the newbie dungeon?

Lawless: And a bunch of jewels from your first dungeon?

Lawless: Holy Mother of God! Are you a hacker or something?

Lawless: Or is your father the creator of the game? Can you introduce him to me??

2567: I just got lucky.

2567: Contact that broker for me.

Lawless: Right away!

Lawless: You sure that you are not a hacker or a relative of the creator??

...

Before Lawless could start again with his BS, Kieran stopped him by stating his request, and then logged off the chat without a second thought.

Ten minutes later, he opened the chat again.

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Lawless: Why do you have to be so much like Blacksmith? Boo!

Lawless: Cant you just enjoy the game?

(After the usual BS, he finally got to the topic at hand.)

Lawless: 20,000 Points, the rest of the terms remain the same.

2567: Deal.

Lawless: Then lets team up and sign the contract!

...

After hearing the doubled price, Kieran agreed to the terms immediately. At Lawless' words, the hollow platform appeared once again in front of Kieran. What followed was not a form though, but a goat skin scroll.

As Kieran looked over the scroll, the mechanical voice started to explain the team contract, reassuring Kieran about any cases of potential betrayal.

"Team Contract"

"All signed parties will be bound by the present contract."

"After entering the dungeon, you can't be released from the contract."

"The contract prohibits friendly fire and sabotaging the benefits of other team members."

"Breaking the contract will be deemed as betrayal, and the player will be killed by the contracts power!"

Kieran opened the scroll and was surprised to notice Lawless' name on it.

He was stunned for a while before he asked Lawless about it.

...

2567: Youre going too?

Lawless: That ass found me first!

Lawless: Besides, whats wrong with me being invited? Aren't I a super awesome player?

Lawless: As a matter of fact, I was the one he was looking for! You're just some appendage!

Lawless: If it wasnt for me, how would that ass get some expensive Team Contract just to enjoy a team dungeon?

Lawless: Plus, he offered me another [Team Dungeon Cooldown Reset Card]!

Lawless: Chill, man! When we enter the dungeon, Ill make sure that we win hands down!

Lawless: Ill show you what a professional super awesome player looks like!

...

While being bombarded by BS, Kieran wrote his nickname on the scroll and placed it back on the hollow platform.

The scroll and platform disappeared together as Kieran noticed that a new option had popped up on the LED screen. It was called Team Channel.

Kieran clicked on it, but only Lawless was online. As he kept sending him messages, Kieran quickly closed both the team chat and his own personal chat.

As soon as he closed it though, he suddenly thought of something.

He quickly opened the chat log of his messages with Lawless and dragged it all the way up. He found the point where Lawless had mentioned appendages, read the words carefully, and began speculating.

"The guy is after the fourth dungeon, and yet he still needs to hire others to clear the fifth?"

"That means he might have used the same method to clear all the other dungeons as well!"

"Someone who uses this kind of method to clear dungeons is not someone who wants to experience some excitement. Plus, this method also proves that that person is not short on money. Otherwise, they would not have been able to buy all these points!"

"Such a person would not even need to logout of the game in the first place..."

Kieran had a bad feeling about this. The game might be unable to log off at all.

That was the first thought that popped up in his mind as a deadly, cold chill shocked his spine.

He froze completely and just stood there blankly.

After some time, he finally collected his thoughts and messaged Lawless with his question.

...

2567: If a player left the virtual helmet and did not log into the game for over three months, what would happen?

...