The salty sea breeze blew across the sea, the waves crashing one after the other. The ferry was carrying food, water and medicine as it cruised smoothly towards the island.
Captain Ralph looked a little distracted as he stood in the cockpit of the ship, letting the first mate take over the wheel.
He kept looking at the room outside the cockpit from time to time. It had originally been the captains cabin, but he had surrendered it over to those men voluntarily. He knew exactly why those people were on the ferry.
Captain Ralph could not help but shiver every time he thought about it. Those people were on their way to the island to solve the mysteries.
As a man making a living working at sea, Captain Ralph had witnessed countless incidents that could not be explained by science. As a result, he was afraid of certain things.
One of those things were people who dealt with mysteries.
"A ferry? Oh, Ive missed this kind of transportation!" said a hunky, bare-chested man sucking on a cigar. He was leaning against a backpack almost as tall as a man as he laughed.
It was the first thing Kieran heard and saw when he regained his sight and balance. He scanned every inch of the place. The crashing waves and visible splashes of water through the small round window indicated that he was on a ship.
The people stuffed inside the average-sized room with him were his team members.
Except for the hunky man that had just spoken, the other four men had extremely distinct features. Although everyone had changed their expression in an effort to hide them, some features were impossible to hide.
Opposite Kieran sat a gorgeous, well-dressed young man with a pale face, maintaining a gentlemans pose.
Beside the young man stood two fully-armed hunky men, looking very serious and alert. Both of them were holding a shield half as tall as a man, which was the most eye-catching thing in the room.
The two of them were standing in front of the well-dressed young man, seemingly guarding him.
Their identities were a dead giveaway. The man in the gorgeous outfit had to be the client, Starbeck.
The other two had to be the ones speaking on Starbecks behalf, No.1 and No.2 respectively.
As for their identities? Their plain nicknames and guarding stance said it all. They were bodyguards. Kieran could not think of a more suitable term to describe them.
Next to the three of them was a slim, but fit looking young man, though his face was pretty ordinary.
The slim young man noticed Kierans staring and replied with a generous, honest smile. However, Kieran could tell by his sharp gaze that there was more to him than met the eye. He was definitely not harmless.
"If this is not a special skill, then his Intuition must be at least D!"
Kieran had tried to avoid staring as much as possible, but the young man had still noticed him. If anything, that was proof enough that the man was something else.
He had to be stronger than the other three, even though the well-dressed young man had been more times inside a dungeon, and so had the two fully-armed men.
Who was Lawless, though?
Ruling out the group of three, Kieran turned his eyes to the hunky, bare-chested fellow with the cigar and the ordinary-looking young man.
This time, Kieran did not hide his staring. Everyone could tell that he was inspecting them.
Given Kierans understanding of Lawless, the man would definitely stand out from the others. It was just as he had expected.
Suddenly, the hunky fellow with the cigar stepped forward and looked at Kieran, a wide, generous smile forming on that rough face of his.
"I am the leader of this team, Lawless. This is my eighth dungeon. Are you 2567?"
"Um, yeah. This is my second dungeon." Kieran nodded with a smile.
It hadnt surprised him that the hunky fellow had turned out to be Lawless. As a matter of fact, when he had first spoken up, Kieran had been almost sure that he was Lawless. His "talking crap" attitude was too much like him.
"Hey, 2567! You look much younger than I imagined, and way stronger than I expected! Blacksmith kept saying that you are one lucky bastard! Lets hope that your everlasting luck will be on our side, because its luck we need the most!"
The mans nagging confirmed Kierans guess.
The tall, hunky fellow with the rough face was indeed Lawless.
"Im Zywane, and this is my fourth time!" the honest-looking young man introduced himself when Lawless was done talking.
The other three introduced themselves as well.
"No.1, third time!"
"No. 2, second time!"
"Im Starbeck, and this will be my fifth dungeon in the game. Ill leave the rest to you."
When the well-dressed young man named Starbeck introduced himself, he stood up with his leg straight, his upper body slightly bent over at less than 20 degrees. It was a very uniform greeting, but it did not seem forced or fake. It really brought out the mans graceful posture.
His simple and seemingly casual manner betrayed his wealthy background once again.
"Starbeck, we are just men for hire. Theres no need for courtesy with us," Lawless said. It sounded like this was not the first time he had been hired by Starbeck.
"My, my, Ive used this manner my entire life. I guess I could not help it!" Starbeck shook his head with a bitter laugh.
Lawless shrugged at his employers extreme courtesy.
Everyone had a different characteristic, and what they held on to was different too.
Lawless could not change Starbecks way of life. He had just been hired by him after all, so their relationship was only that between an employer and an employee. Even if they had been friends though, Lawless would still not have disapproved of his friends lifestyle.
The team leader cleared his throat to get everyones attention before he asked, "So what do you guys think of this mission?"
Everyone turned serious as they thought of the mission description.
The term "mysteries" brought a sense of worry to both Kieran and the others.
"No.1, No. 2 and I are not able to deal with mysteries!" Starbeck came forward about his weakness.
"If its something with a real, physical body, I could use all my power to take care of it. But even if its some kind of spirit or ghost, I could still manage... Unless its some kind of vengeful spirit. That I could not handle!" Zywane did not hide his strength either. He reassured them about his ability to deal with the paranormal, but spared them the exact details.
"2567, what about you?" Lawless asked as he looked at Kieran.
"My abilities are balanced. Physical form or not, I can deal with anything as long as its not ridiculously powerful," Kieran also partially revealed his strength.
After all, he could trust no one in the room except Lawless. Plus, they had not told the complete truth either.
At least Starbeck had not. Considering his wealth and fortune, surely hed anticipated all sorts of situations when hed entered the dungeon. There was no way that he had not been prepared for this.
However, when Kieran only mentioned part of his strength, he did not just capture Lawless attention, but everyone elses too.
"I get why Broker recommended you, even though this is only your second dungeon. Your strength is not to be taken lightly!" Starbeck said in an admiring tone.
Zywane looked kind of shocked, but he did not question Kierans worth. He knew that the team had been put together by the Broker. The Brokers name alone was famous enough to captivate people.
Plus, there was also the fact that Lawless seemed to be quite familiar with Kieran too. Kierans reputation among the veterans convinced Zywane of his abilities.
He believed that Lawless would not befriend someone who would lie during a crucial meeting regarding a mission.
After everyone had briefly introduced themselves, Lawless spoke again.
"Given that this is a fourth time dungeon, as long as theres not some kind of special triggered Sub Mission, I can handle any monster, with or without a physical body, with ease!"
Lawless words sounded overconfident, but none of the others objected. He was entitled to that kind of confidence after clearing seven dungeons.
Kierans sharp Intuition picked up something after Lawless boasting. Starbeck had let out a sigh of relief, that pale face of his turning a healthier red.
"So Starbeck was only pale because he had been feeling afraid?" Kieran could not help but wonder.
He was quite surprised by his guess.
He would not dare speculate without any solid proof though.
Compared to Starbecks relief, Zywane looked hyped up. It seemed like he would not be satisfied with only the Main Mission, and neither would Kieran.
Kieran hoped that he would get to meet another monster like the colossal crocodile Primus. Only such a monstrous beast would drop some valuable loot.
Lawless looked at Kieran and Zywanes excited expressions, and laughed.
"Follow the temporary team rules, and dont expect me to look after you! Other than the Main Mission, I will only finish my own Sub Mission and take what belongs to me. The same applies to you guys. It's a give and take game!" Lawless reminded both young men seriously.
"This is the way it should be!" Kieran answered in a clear tone. He was not expecting any help from Lawless, and he did not want to owe anyone any favors either.
Favors were hard to repay. He had learned that a long time ago.
"No objections!" Zywane shrugged, agreeing to the proposition.
Lawless nodded in agreement and pointed outside.
"Very well. What we should do first is determine how strange these mysteries are!"
Although they were unable to see was what going on outside, they could clearly hear people speaking.
"The natives cannot understand my art of talking. Ill leave this mission to you guys!" Lawless looked annoyed as he turned to the others.
"It would be best for me to stay here," Starbeck said. Neither of the bodyguards said anything.
Excluding the trio, Kieran and Zywane were the only players left.
Neither of them seemed about to budge. Kieran looked at Zywane, and Zywane looked right back at him.
After all, talking to the natives would not just provide them with information about the dungeon, but also potentially trigger a Sub Mission and raise ones rating at the end of the mission. Obviously, no one would want to pass on that, even if there was only a slim chance.
Just within mere fractions of a second, a sense of strong gunpowder had broken out in the captains cabin between the two of them.