The Guild Members of Mystic Guild woke up to major changes that happened overnight.
Suddenly, there were new infrastructures around, namely a pagoda, a palace, and a new door.
Word spread real quick since all of them are curious as to what the new places are. Thankfully, it didn't take long before Ashton posted an announcement to the Guild Chat, discussing the new additions to the Guild.
He posted the information he got from the system about the Mountain and Sea Realm, Stargazing Pagoda, and the Sword Palace.
Along with the post, he also informed them that these facilities are free to use. They don't need to pay merit points to enter these places since they are meant for their training.
Ashton himself had tested each facility before opening them for the Guild Members to use. He made sure to get an accurate experience for each so that he can make full use of them.
The Mountain and Sea Realm was the first. Upon entering it, he was transferred to a space overlooking a huge Mountain and Sea area. There, he was presented with a choice between the Mountain Path and the Sea Path.
He tried the Mountain Path first and got transported to the foot of the Mountain. There was a safe zone at the foot of the mountain where gravity was normal. The moment he stepped out of that safe zone is when the challenge starts.
The Mountain was at least 13,000 meters tall. It's probably the biggest mountain one can ever lay their eyes on.
From 0-1000 meters up the mountain, gravity was doubled. 1000-2000 meters, it doubles again but it's gradual. Past 2000 meters there will be weak pulses that will push the challenger back and they will get progressively stronger.
From 5000 meters and beyond, those pulses will ripple, meaning that the challenger will start to get pushed from all sides. Upon reaching 8000 meters up the mountain, gravity will start to fluctuate from normal to ×10 of the normal gravity.
The fluctuation happens every five minutes, making it hard for someone to adjust to the changes.
And past 10000 meters, it will start to introduce zero gravity to the mix. Meaning that at some point within the climb, gravity will just disappear, causing one to just suddenly start floating.
Then, from 12000 to 12999 meters, the gravity shift can increase up to ×100 of normal gravity on top of all the bullshit one needed to pay attention to...
And finally, at the very peak of the mountain was...well, Ashton doesn't know. He never reached the peak of the mountain. The farthest he went was 12000 meters before giving up and leaving, being teleported back to the safe zone at the foot of the mountain.
The only reason why he was able to reach that far was that he was using spells to make the journey easier for himself. He wasn't really there to train, just to test it out to gain some impression of it after all. He'll leave whatever discovery there was at the peak of the mountain later or for the challenger who managed to reach that place.
Next was the Sea Path...
Choosing the Sea Path, the challenger would open their eyes to a bizarre situation. They will find themselves standing on top of a platform with their limbs cuffed and chained to it.
Then the sea will surge and waves will start hitting the platform with the person chained to it. These waves will continuously get even stronger the longer they persist. It'll continue like that until the person chained gives up or is forcibly transported away for safety.
Suffice to say, the Mountain and Sea Realm was meant to test the limits of the challenger and make them physically stronger. The longer one persists through the challenges, the more beneficial this place would be for them.
This place was simply meant for Shield Bearers and the like. In fact, Blake was having a field day in the Mountain Path right now.
Next would be the Stargazing Pagoda...
This place is about 100 meters tall, which is pretty big still. It's divided into 10 floors and painted with vibrant colors, making it difficult for one to miss it.
Entering it causes one to find themselves in the middle of a void. Pitch-darkness will greet them first, drowning their senses until they lose all of it. Then a white light flashes, turning brighter and bigger until its true appearance was revealed to the visitor.
Ashton could assume that this will be their very own Birth Star. Sadly, Ashton had no sufficient knowledge about Astrology to name all Stars that he saw in there but he learned that his Birth Star was named...Arzule. 𝙞𝚗𝓷𝗿𝚎аd. 𝙘𝒐𝚖
Throughout his initial stay in the Pagoda, all he did was observe his Birth Star, he wasn't in control of his own body or his senses but he could now remember every inch of what Arzule looked like before he was kicked out of the Pagoda.
He tried entering again but he was barred from entering, it says that he could only enter once a week. Now, he didn't know why was that a thing but he couldn't really question it, especially because he didn't understand what was going on.
Despite that though, his curiosity to learn more got even stronger. So much so that he already adjust his schedule within the foreseeable future, making sure that he will have time to research any records there was left of Astrology.
Maybe, he can exploit it using the Simulation Zone as well to save some time, who knows?
And then finally, the Sword Palace...
This is a paradise for Sword Bearers just like he expected. It was majestic inside. Mostly empty but filled with dignity.
The density of Sword Intent was thick within the palace. He even saw scars all over the place which are oozing with Sword Laws.
From his experience, the Sword Palace was divided into three parts; the Sword Garden, the Interior Palace, and the Throne Room. He of course started at the Sword Garden.
There, he found a total of five spots where he saw platforms. Standing on one of those platforms gives him a chance to issue a challenge to the palace. The Palace will then rouse its memories and call upon the spirit of a Swordsman that will take on the challenge.
Basically, you work your way up here. If you win, you get to move on. If you admit defeat, you can rest and try again up to three times. After that, the Sword Palace will kick you out.
The challengers can experience death here, but not a real one. And if the memory of the Palace managed to kill you, that's an instant kick-out from the place. You may try again tomorrow.
Ashton managed to reach the Interior Palace but since he's not a Sword Bearer, the Sword Techniques he received were of no use to them. At most, he can use it as a reference, nothing more,
He was just a shy step away from reaching the Throne Room when he met a gatekeeper. Suffice to say, he failed to reach the Throne Room but that's fine, he knows he'll eventually be able to someday.
After testing out each of the new facilities, Ashton decided that it'd be better if he made it free for all to use since they are excellent tools to make everybody stronger.
They can serve as strong stimulation for the Guild Members, and if it's free then there's practically no reason for them to not use it, right? So why not?
And while it's true that this might slow down the rate of mission clears, it's fine. Fantasia is at a positive trend anyways. At most, the menial tasks of improving its state were slowly becoming negligible. Plus, another round of recruitment was about to happen to make up for that.
It's about time to raise the quality of the Guild Members. The stronger they are, the better missions he could post, and more improvements could be made.
'Sharpening the axe won't delay the cutting of wood' so they say...
Right now, he watched as the Guild Members crowded over the new facilities, thinking about what they should try out first.
He made sure to be as transparent as he could to them to set their expectations properly, say for example, the possibility of them experiencing death if they choose the Sword Palace, and so on...
Right now, the Big 3 lead on the charge. Blake was already experiencing the pulses and fluctuations of the gravity within the Mountain Path.
Mary and Felicia were at the Stargazing Pagoda, testing it out to gain more intel for him. They lasted longer than he did so far so their insights will truly be appreciated.
And finally, there's Alice and Justin, having a field day at the Sword Palace like maniacs, issuing challenges left and right.
Their initiative spurred on the rest and slowly but surely, they're becoming brave enough to try. And this is something that he liked to see.
"Guild Master...I'm here for today's lesson."
He hears Doug in the training kitchen and nodded to himself.
'Alright, time to get busy...'
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