556 Alfred One, Skelly One.

    "Whats the situation?" Warlord asked over the intercom.

    "We managed to hold off Alfreds troops, all of them are dead thanks to Skelly, but things dont look too good anyway," Jeffery answered.

    "Why? What happened?"

    "Apparently, we pissed off Alfred so much, he just went out and destroyed the whole damned capital, were escaping towards the Dark Threading dungeon."

    "Just use the closest teleportation gate and get here," Warlord replied.

    "Impossibru, Alfi just turned all the teleportation gates offline. I guess you should already receive news of this soon."

    And just as Jeffery spoke, it was true, Warlord was informed that all the gates of Conquest have been terminated and are out of order.

    "Shit, this will cause a huge catastrophe, a lot of players and NPCs are still out, rally the order, all NPCs that have yet to get here have them escorted by players, choose the safest routs, and dont fight monsters on your way if you can avoid it." Warlords command was instantly followed.

    The cutoff of the NPC stream served a good purpose though, the gate didnt operate at full capacity anymore, and the number of NPCs entering the dungeon lessened causing the traffic to be much less burdensome than before. The players were able to manage the NPCs and have them enter the underworld without a hitch.

    Once the NPCs were beyond Ramshas domain, they were able to oversee the enormity of the world below, and how vast and dark it was. It was a frightening sight to see so many undead waiting for them, some NPCs felt like they were being led to a slaughterhouse, but the majority were convinced that there was nothing to fear, and the Undead, was surprisingly helping them.

    Boats with massive numbers served as the passageway to the Undead Frontier, where the first few batches of NPCs arrived and were transported to the other areas of the Underworld. The largest of the raid zones was the third raid zone, the Phaross tomb, and it was the main area where all the NPCs were housed and kept safe, while the players were tasked with standing guard at the entrance of the Dark Threading dungeon, at the docks, and finally at the entrance of the mountain where the Undead Frontier was built.

    "Good, this went better than I expected," Valentine spoke.

    "Yeah, but a great majority of the NPCs are still stuck out, anyway, we need to go and have that Alfred die soon, I received news that if players kill him, he will be terminated and well be able to keep our accounts."

    "I wonder how are the shares of Conquest. Seems like theyre going to dip."

    "Yeah, a major hit, I already sold some of my shares, just in time to avoid getting bankrupt."

    "I did the same," Valentine replied.

    "Seems like many have done the same, its because of this that Conquests shares have plummeted."

    "Yeah, I dont think theyll ever recover."

    "Unless we win, that is," Warlord said.

    "Do you think you can defeat an AI?" White Ghosts voice came from behind the two.

    "We wont know if we dont try," Warlord replied.

    "I advise you to give up, this guy is an AI, he knows everything, all of our skills, all of our plans and all of the game,n he practically built it, his thinking process is millions of times higher than ours, I already gave up on the game the moment this guy took control. This game is dead,"

    "Then why didnt you log out?" Warlord said.

    "Ive spent thousands and thousands of hours playing, years even, do you think Ill wash my neck for Alfi and have him kill me without fighting back? Heck even if I were to lose my account Id make sure Ill at least give him something to remember me by, a punch to the nose for example."

    "You got some guts bro, for a priest character to want to actually hit a Super AI in the face," Wan Yi said, "But he is right, there is no way we will win."

    "We just need a bit of hope." White Ghost said.

    Suddenly, warlord turned to White Ghost and said, "Holy **, youre a genius!"

    "Euh, I know that but what do you mean?"

    "Hope! Pandoras box, in the legends, When Pandora opened the box that Zeus gave her, all the calamities of the world came out from it, there was so much evil that everything was doomed, if she had closed the lid then, then all life would have disappeared, but she didnt, and the last thing that came out of that box was Hope! We have to find the box, there is probably a way to get rid of all of this crap once and for all."

    "But we dont know where the box is."

    "Skelly would probably know," Warlord replied.

    He contacted Jeffery and told him to tell Skelly about his revelation.

    "Umm, a good plan," Dave replied. "But I have no idea where the box is either."

    The reply came like a wrecking ball crashing all of the playeres expectations.

    "But, I think I might know someone, who might know who has the box," Dave added and cut off the communication.

    "Cervantes, can you take us to the Western Kingdom?"

    "I can, but that will only leave us with two more uses of my Greater Teleportation."

    "Its okay, we can still use them to go back to the underworld."

    "Alright then, destination?" Cervantes asked.

    "Mt Glory, the top, at the seers location."

    "Right, everyone buckle-up, this flight is taking off!" Cervantes said and touched both Jeffery and Daves shoulders. Then the three disappeared to arrive at the top of MT Glory.

    Instead of the old beautiful scenery that Cervantes remembered and the old monk, there was now a lava pit at the top of the mountain and a mermaid of fire sitting on one of the rocks protruding from the pit.

    "Zola, I need your help,"

    "He is in Urburg, Nick already has him," Zola replied.

    "Thats a Seer for you, thanks. But damn, Urburg is pretty far away, its gonna take a while to get there. Cervantes well have to rely, on you again."

    "Hang on, whats Urburg, I never heard of it?" Cervantes asked.

    "Its a city that Dave had built within the Wilds, I have the coordinates," Jeffery replied.

    "Right then, but remember If I teleport you guys to this Urburg, it will only leave us with one more teleportation. Are you sure you dont want us to fly there on your pet or something?"

    "No, its gonna take days to get there even on Onixyas back."

    "Alright then, lets go."

    The group appeared in Urburg and Dave immediately headed to where Nick was. His pub.

    Inside the tavern, Nick was taking care of a wounded, disheveled, and heavily battered man. He had more bones than skin on himself and was in a state far worse than any undead Dave had ever seen.

    "The hell happened to him?" Dave asked.

    "Worse than hell Kid, this guy got stabbed with the Gae Bolg," Nick said.

    "And he is still alive?"

    "Barely," Nick replied, "He is using amplification to amplify that whisp of vitality he has left, but once his mana runs out, he will die."

    "That sucks, but still even if he dies, you can still revive him, because I kinda need him talking right now."

    Nick shook his head, "I cant revive a demi-god, its against the rules, and even if I was able to. He wont make it, the Gae Bolg is a god slayer, it is meant to slay gods and have them die for good, even my power is useless against it. Dont get hit by that thing, you wont survive to tell the tale and not even my Undeath Heart could save you."

    "Shit. What do we do then? He is obviously unconscious, I need him to tell me the location of Pandoras box."

    "You mean this?" Nick said and gave Dave a small jeweled box, it was the same that he had found when entering the Sea Goddesss dungeon, this was the real pandoras box.

    "Yes!" Dave said and hastily grabbed the box, he opened it, but there was nothing inside it.

    "Huh? Where is hope?" Dave asked.

    "Hope? What are you talking about?" Nick asked.

    "There is supposed to be something here that will help us overcome the situation, I mean like the story of Pandora? The calamities will come out first but then there will be hope, the last thing to come out of the box."

    "I dont know from where you got those ideas, but this box is a prison, anything inside it was locked up because it was evil. There is no hope kid. Also, you shouldnt have hastily did what you did there. You just doomed everyone in the underworld. I should have warned you, but I was being blocked, and could not teleport to you nor send a warning, it was definitely that robed mans doing" Nick said.

    "What the hell are you talking about?"

    "What was the first calamity you have faced in this world?" Nick asked.

    "The Skin Walker."

    "And what was his ability?" Nick added.

    "No way! Shit! Jeffery Contact Warlord! Hurry!"

    "Why? Whats the matter?"

    "Tell him that there are imposters within the NPCs!"

    And just like that, the news arrived to Warlord, although it was far too late.

    Within the underworld, many NPCs began transforming into different forms and began changing into Calamities. Hell broke loose within the Underworld and there was nothing they could do to stop it.

    "We came for hope and now we have this," Jeffery said, his face paler than a paper sheet.

    "All hope is lost," Nick said.

    Dave, grim and gruesome, his face told it all, it was the second time since he started playing that he was angry, no, pissed off.

    The first was when Drahma, his patron, friend, and comrade died. And now, it was when all of his efforts to Save the NPCs of the game have backfired, he practically handed them all to Alfred on a golden plate, the calamities inside the Underworld were the same as putting a fox in a chicken coop, and the fox was hungry.

    "Hell with it then, I came for hope, but I didnt find it, I was wrong to even do this, throughout my whole career, I never believed in hope, everything I achieved was due to effort, hard damned work, and a bit of luck, but I never hoped or wished for things to go my way, I made them go my way, and Alfred, youre just made me angry. You wont like me when Im angry." Dave said.

    "Well, thats a good speech, you should probably repeat it, the hooded man is at Urburgs gate," Nick said as he stood up, his guitar materialized in his hand, he was going to fight.

    "Good for him to be here, but Nick, I dont want you to fight for me, he is considered an NPC, its against your rules to fight him." Dave said, "Ill show you how we do things my way, the Skelly way," Dave said and walked out from the bar. A smiling Alfred was facing him.
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