Cheng Yang walked over to confront the Trial Hall manager, who greeted him respectfully.
“What can I do for you, my Lord?”
“Hello Mr. Manager, I had a question about the functions of your charge. If I want to enter a trial, does your terminal teleport you in?” Cheng Yang asked.
“That’s correct, my Lord.” The manager replied.
“In that case, what’s that portal over there for?”
“My Lord, I can only say that your Phoenix Village is too special.” The manager said with a glowing smile. “Once a village encompasses an Instance Dungeon, it is one of my responsibilities to create an easily accessible portal to it. Your village already having one when its only at the High-Grade level is simply extraordinary!”
If the manager was impressed by that, what kind of reaction would he have if he learned that the village had an Instance Dungeon even when it was at the Low-Grade level?
“Do you mean to say, that if I enter that portal, it will take me to the Blood-Soaked Cathedral?” It was Cheng Yang’s first time hearing about the Trial Hall’s extra feature, so he wanted to gather more information.
“Yes and no, my Lord.” The manager said. “While it is true that entering that portal will take you to the Instance Dungeon you mentioned, it is not reserved for it. Even if your domain encompasses multiple Instance Dungeons, they will all be accessible from this portal.”
“So, if a new Instance Dungeon enters my territory, it will automatically be connected?”
“Correct. You can also manage the various Instance Dungeons connected to the portal using the nearby terminal. By default, Instance Dungeons are open to anyone who has performed a class change ceremony in the village, but you can adjust who has access.”
Cheng Yang thanked the manager before going to inspect the portal.
Using the instructions the manager gave him, Cheng Yang opened the terminal and then checked the page for the Blood-Soaked Cathedral.
Standard Grade Party Size Apprentice Instance Dungeon
443 Clears Until High-Grade
|Normal Difficulty||10/10||Hard Difficulty||10/10|
|Nightmare Difficulty||8/10||Hell Difficulty||0/10|
- Non-residents barred from entering
After reviewing the data, Cheng Yang was able to infer that Instance Dungeons were hierarchical. Since it was an Apprentice Instance Dungeon, there must also be instance dungeons for the other stages of evolution. Since the Blood-Soaked Church had an average monster level in the Immature range, other dungeons probably had a monster in the Mature range or higher.
He also learned the disappointing reality of leveling up an Instance Dungeon to High-Grade. Cheng Yang didn’t know the exact number of clears needed, but he estimated that the Blood-Soaked Cathedral was at most 10% of the way to the goal.
For now, Cheng Yang left the restrictions as they were. All of the low-level soldiers knew that entering on their own would be suicide. The higher-level ones had, on the other hand, were all registered with the Barracks and would be quickly punished if they stole a run.
When Cheng Yang tried to leave, the manager wanted to entice him into attempting a trial. Cheng Yang declined since the low-level trials offered wouldn’t benefit him.
Finally, Cheng Yang visited the Tavern. It was the part of his inspection that Cheng Yang was looking forward to the most. However, since it was the middle of the day, Cheng Yang was there to gather information, not to drink.
When Cheng Yang entered the Tavern, he was shocked by how quiet it was. In his past life, loud drunks filled the building at all hours.
“My Lord! Welcome!” An energetic young waiter greeted Cheng Yang.
“I’d like a pint of beer, please.” Cheng Yang requested before sitting down at the bar.
Even if he didn’t want to drink at the moment, the employees would throw you out if you tried to loiter inside without buying anything.
Once the beer was served, and the five Experience Fragment tab was paid, a terminal appeared in front of Cheng Yang.
As long as one spent five Experience Fragments per hour, the Tavern offered a complimentary connection to a site similar to a forum from before the apocalypse.
There were four forums in total: Open Forum, Action House, Council of Rulers, and Transcendent’s List.
In his past life, Cheng Yang had visited the Open Forum and Auction House. The Council of Rulers was restricted to Lords, their officials, and high ranking soldiers or adventurers. As for the Transcendent’s List, Cheng Yang hadn’t even heard about someone being able to open it.
Although the Auction House was a place to auction off equipment and other treasures, most people used it as a glorified shipping company.
If you listed an item, a Tavern employee would take it from you, and once it was purchased, you could pick up the payment.
It was a convenient way to make money if you ignored one glaring flaw. The Tavern charged a dealer fee of ten percent with a one thousand Experience Fragments minimum. So, unless you earned ten thousand Experience Fragments with an auction, the Tavern would take an absurd cut.
This meant it was only worth auctioning an item if it was worth thousands of Experience Fragments, but which idiot would give away something that valuable for money?
As such, very few items were every auctioned, with the exception being raw resources. Since delivery was convenient, areas with a large number of natural resources would sell off massive quantities to the highest bidder.
The Open Forum, on the other hand, was just as useful as it sounded! It provided a way to communicate with humans from around the world. There were four different discussion forums inside the Open Forum page: the Area Module, Province Module, Continent Module, and Global Module. As the names suggested, each one would let you communicate with a progressively more significant portion of humanity.
Currently, Cheng Yang could only access the Area module, which connected him to people in the Cloud City Area. As such, the forum was nearly silent since it was still poorly developed. To get access to the other modules, Cheng Yang would have to spend more Experience Fragments.
Once he did, he would be able to join a thread or start a new one. There was also a direct message feature as long as you were both in the same forum module. However, it wasn’t a perfect experience. Each module would only update new posts and messages after a certain amount of time.
The Area Module updated every twenty minutes, every three hours for the Province Module, every twelve hours for the Continent Module, and every twenty-four hours for the Global Module.
Cheng Yang didn’t have any expectations for the Auction House or Open Forum, so he didn’t care that no one was posting anything there. What he wanted to see was the Council of Rulers.
For most people in Cheng Yang’s past life, the Council of Lords was a forbidden sacred area, and Cheng Yang was no exception.
Cheng Yang’s opened the forum with barely contained excitement that was doused when he found out it was more or less identical to the Open Forum and just as empty.
The Council of Rulers was no longer a mystifying location. It was just a forum where he was the first-ever visitor.