Guild Wars - Chapter 549
The Knight Leader tried to shout to rally his men to defend, but such an action was a waste of time when before absolute power like what Draco possessed. With a flick of the fellow’s wrist, the remaining knights were directly turned into nothing, their everything being extinguished from reality forever.
The moment the last knight disappeared, the entire world seemed to retract itself like a procedurally generated (which it basically was) map, only in reverse.
Eventually, the Five Monsters sat on a white table in a pseudo-void. They then saw a screen pop up before each of them showing their success on this floor just like the one that came before.
｢System to Player Announcement
a.s.sessing world status… ｣
｢System to Player Announcement
Checking objective completion… ｣
｢System to Player Announcement
a.n.a.lyzing actions and choices… ｣
｢System to Player Announcement
Calculating score… ｣
｢Congratulations on completing: Tower of Babylon Second Floor
Time elapsed: 14:34:59
Objectives complete: All
5,400 Score Points
Draco was unsurprised by his high rewards, but was a bit curious. It seemed like he got more points this time, maybe from protecting the villagers? In truth, the quest for the second floor did not give any directive, just hinted at the danger to come.
It seemed like the tower itself wanted to evaluate the actions of each Trial Taker in this scenario. This was a bit interesting as always being given directives like some character in a play was a bit boring at times.
Whatever the case, Draco then collected his wives into his Inner Universe and returned to his Castle on the outskirts. At this time, Draco noticed that the leaderboard for the second floor had appeared before him and updated itself.
1st – Draco Morningstar: 5,400 Points.
2nd – Gavin Guy: 980 Points.
3rd – Dorothy Keel: 920 Points.
4th – James L.u.s.ter: 830 Points.
5th – Mandingo: 560 Points.
6th – G.o.d’s Son: 450 Points.
8th – King’s Return: 220 Points.
9th – Makinsser: 125 Points.
10th – Hugo Mori: 90 Points.
Draco’s expression immediately became solemn. While the upper limit of points was higher, the gap between each of those at the top was so huge. Even worse, the drop per rank was far larger than before, meaning that this second floor was truly treacherous.
Why? Because just as had been stated, it was one that gave freedom to act. As such, one wouldn’t really know what the right thing to do was. One could argue that in lieu of being weak, one should flee during the party and leave the villagers to die.
One could also have hidden during the arrow rain and place themselves beneath the corpses of the another’s until the knights left. A bit disgraceful, but survival was key.
One could also have valiantly fought to defend the villagers and killed some knights, which forced the group to flee. Others could have been injured fighting against the knights and then fled when they saw that things were unsalvageable.
There were many choices one could have made in the previous scenario. The question was, which was the right one?
Maybe it was because Draco had spent time near Zaine for more than 12 hours, but he suddenly found his mind whirring as his Pinnacle Intelligence activated itself.
It was a simple truth he had failed to see. For example, who was more powerful? The one who could refer to the textbook during an exam or the one who had access to the teacher’s marking scheme?
Obviously, it was the latter. Having access to the textbook was great, but it also limited you. Your answer would certainly be correct, there was no doubt about that, but would you achieve full marks?
Unlikely. If an exam question was essay type and gave 25 marks, having access to the textbook would net you 22 marks of the total, which was certainly amazing. But with the teacher’s marking scheme, you will see the optimal way they wanted you to answer the question and answer it as such, achieving full marks whether the teacher liked it or not.
After all, you followed their own marking scheme to the letter.
In this situation, having the textbook equated to Draco’s method of making the right choice. One should not forget, according to the limitations of the second floor, one could not access anything from the external world that was not an organic part of themselves.
Ideally, one should only be able to use the power that one acquired on the first floor. Whatever cla.s.s, whatever skills, and whatever equipment you got then would decide how far you could climb in these linked floors.
To the others who were NPCs, this included bloodline abilities, as the likes of even Hikari were sealed. However, things like having wings, a strong const.i.tution, and being able to s.h.i.+ft forms were not restricted because they were traits, not abilities.
One required activation and the other required some form of manipulation to work. So Gavin Guy and the rest had to use their cla.s.ses to avoid the onslaught of these knights who were like mini-bosses on their own, not counting the powerful boss that was the lead Knight.
Why was Draco able to get such high points on the first floor? Because he was graded to have high talent, spent less time completing the quest and eradicated the j.a.pichi Bandits when he was only supposed to drive them away.
This allowed them to use their IRL bloodline in-game through simulated effects which counted as techniques, and techniques were not blocked by the floor’s rules.
So, putting all this together, what was the first-floor and second-floor testing? From comparing the two as well as the way people were scored, Draco naturally understood that it was likely testing a person’s foundation.
Bu stripping all t.i.tles, skills, equipment, and abilities, the tower directly forced everyone to the same level. It didn’t matter whether you were Rank 1 or Rank 10, everyone had the same starting point on Floor 1.
It also showed Draco how cla.s.ses were selected on floor 1. Those crystal b.a.l.l.s tested for a person’s strongest talent in a certain technique, and then pulled out their grade of talent in reference to the pinnacle.
Draco’s talent was swordsmans.h.i.+p and where most of his techniques lay, so it was chosen. This was why he didn’t gain a cla.s.s relating to his bloodline or Control, because he simply wasn’t as talented in them as compared to swordsmans.h.i.+p.
Heck, he had even beaten bloodline users like Eva and Local Lord with raw swordsmans.h.i.+p technique in the previous timeline, so how could it match his bloodline he had only unlocked in this timeline just a few months ago?!
However, Draco had not yet reached the pinnacle of swordsmans.h.i.+p, so he was rated to be at Black-Grade which was equivalent to the Divine Rank.
Eva had gotten her Light affinity scanned and presented, not because it was her bloodline’s main trait, but because it was what she was strongest in.
Eva had trained her light-based abilities crazily over the past and present timeline because she could not get much use of her Abyssal Eye Techniques while her Celestial Maiden Inheritance had been practically untameable until recently.
Roma had gotten her Mystic abilities scanned and graded at Orange-grade which was equivalent to legendary Rank because Roma had not yet mastered her Mystic Abilities. Far from it, Roma had only tapped into the basics of it.
Unlike Eva who had trained crazily over two timelines, Roma was only about 20 years old when Draco met her and she was a gentle and kind girl who was still in training under Vadoma.
She had hardly used her Mystic Arts up until Draco formed the Soul Bond and took her away to battle. So one could say that as she was about 22 now, she only had 2 years of practice using her Mystic Arts.
If it wasn’t for her Ultima Sunt side making her potential rise so greatly, she might have gotten lower than Orange-Grade. Of course, while Roma was still generally a gentle woman, she was no longer kind.
The more she got in tune with her Mystic Arts, the more a certain evil was awakening within her that she herself failed to notice.
Zaine was similar in some ways. She had only been 19 when she met Draco and was now 21 years old but before that, she had been lazing about in the Devil World doing nothing to the point where she was known for her laziness.
If it hadn’t been for Draco banging her so hard her brain activated, she might never have even bothered to utilize her psychic talents. Draco himself had taught her the best ways to use her abilities and Zaine had the bloodline of the Royal Devil.
As such, her Psychic abilities were stronger than others, and were graded to be Orange as well.
As for Hikari, well. She had a White-grade curative talent because she was a White Dragon, master of Creation Energy. Even if you sealed away her skills, that fact would not change.
Any healing spell pa.s.sed through her hands would display more power than even a G.o.d, so the tower didn’t have to think too much.
Circling back, this equated that foundations were important in the marking scheme. Draco was only lucky that his and his wives’ foundations were so solid that they broke the common sense of the world on the first two floors.
But if the floors changed focus from foundations, he would not be scoring such high points. This was the key difference between relying on having the textbook and having the marking scheme.
With the marking scheme, one could ace the entire exam perfectly as they knew how to answer each and every exam within. With the textbook, you were limited by the knowledge within the book itself.
If a question appeared that the textbook had no answer for, what would you do then? You would be stumped, while the fellow with the marking scheme would simply smirk and write the answer.
The entire 99 floors were just one exam with 99 questions. Draco had been given the textbook to work with and the textbooks coincidentally had the answers to the first two floors, enabling him to score high marks, but not perfect marks.
However, it was entirely likely for him to come across a question that his ‘textbook’ could not answer. There could be a floor that tested something else, where his bloodline, Control, or other ability could not let him breeze through using brute force alone.
Since this was an exam, Draco had to act like a smart student and not just answer as they saw things. Instead, he had to perform one of the greatest hidden tricks to pa.s.sing any exam, or at least to scoring competently; understand the question itself.
Sometimes, you might know the answer, but what the quest was asking was not what you were writing, so you might even deviate and score nothing despite your answer being 100% correct in its own context.
For example, on floor 1, the description told Draco to drive off the j.a.pichi bandits, but he killed them and got many more points. However, were there more efficient methods to use?
Did one have to stick to driving them off just because the description said so? No, the fact that Draco scored so highly for slaughtering them proved that this was not an ironclad rule, but rather the minimum required action to achieve the goal.
What could Draco have done better? Killing all the bandits was already the best choice, which was exactly why he surpa.s.sed everyone else who used different methods as well. What more could he add to it?
Well, for one, there was the option to subdue the bandits then have them ignore Ironwood Village henceforth and focus on others. This had undoubtedly been the best option and one chosen by the marking scheme.
Firstly, the description stated that the bandits were plaguing Ironwood and Draco was to drive them away so that they stopped hara.s.sing Ironwood. This meant that for the first floor, apart from ironwood village, the life and death of any other locale was not his issue.
Secondly, if he only subdued the bandits, he would not incur the wrath of the Carva n.o.ble House as their men wouldn’t have been killed and their illegal stream of income cut off.
Then the events of floor 2 would not happen – at least, a.s.suming that the tower’s floors were real and dynamic – which would save Ironwood from facing a catastrophe later.
Same thing with floor 2. Killing all the knights was one way to resolve the danger, but he was just digging his grave deeper and d.a.m.ning the villagers to go along with him whether they liked it or not.
In that situation, there were options like using verbal means to pacify the knights and prevent the slaughter, presenting treasures to appease the knights – or bribes basically – among others.
When one actually looked into it, Draco’s actions might have seemed cool and straightforward, but they were factually unwise and poor. A real examiner would have likely scored him less even though he used the more direct way to solve the issue.
However, the tower respected all rules of the world. One of these ironclad rules was that in the face of absolute power, all manner of trickery is useless. On floors 1 and 2, Draco was absolute power represented, so he need not use extraneous means to achieve the goal.
So yes, while not scoring full points, he got more than 90%. The day he was relegated from the absolute power status, he would naturally fail and get a s.h.i.+ttier score. As long as he remained the one who had the absolute power, in any scenario he was free to use direct and destructive means to achieve his goal.
So, by realizing all this, Draco realized his flaw. He had been treating this Unique Quest with a bit of mild interest and playfulness. Before, when he entered the Flora and Fauna as well as the Refinement G.o.d treasury Unique Quests, he had treated them with utmost seriousness and given his all to complete them.
However, after the recent one, his overall power had jumped so high that he was in a different league compared to before. He had Divine items aplenty and could even access a few Origin Rank stuff here and there.
A mere Unique Quest about Divinity could not possibly be anything more than that. However, his thinking was wrong. This quest was the same Rank as the Refinement G.o.d’s Treasury, which was Divine.
Just look at the twists and turns that had been in the treasury. Norma was a Semi-Origin G.o.d, he got Origin Rank materials for free and even got the overpowered refinement.
Heck, Flora and Fauna which was Legendary had also been crazy. He had gotten Roma, Pair Dadeni, and Mjolnir, as well as the Ultima Sunt bloodline and even an Origin G.o.ddess which was Rila!
How could this tower be any weaker? Likely, there were things he would encounter down the line which would shatter his mind just like the two before, so he must treat this quest seriously and give it his all.
After considering all this and correcting his mentality, Draco stood up as he realized he had to do something he had neglected to do precisely because he took this tower casually.
It was time to head to the safe zone and explore the area, see what he could buy, how he could earn resources without having to climb floors using the barter system, and especially glean information on the later floors so he could have a headstart.
Suddenly, the words of James L.u.s.ter resounded in his mind.
[“Silly chap, the points you’ve raised are certainly logical… but only if you’ve just entered the tower and have no clue of the inner workings on the higher floors. However, you’d be quick to find out that things aren’t as they seem!”]
Back then, it had seemed had empty boasting to sound mysterious, but now, Draco realized that there might be some truth to it. While he was confident that he could rise above any challenge, it was likely the top three knew something about the later floors and were waiting for him to trip up.
Heck, they might have made the same a.n.a.lysis as him about how to pa.s.s this tower, but because they could not re-do past floors, there was no way to fix their mistakes, even if they could.
So they rather gathered in newbies and taught them the ‘marking scheme’, allowing them to get better points by being prepared, netting them better rewards and a higher score.
The newbies got to use their reward to get what they want and the veterans would use their score to get what they wanted as well.
A win-win for both sides in a sense.
This was why the top three had stopped trying to persuade him after Draco insulted them. They knew that he would likely accomplish great things on the first few floors and hit a bottleneck somewhere in the future, probably a specific floor that everyone knew was a no-go.
When he tripped up there, wouldn’t they be the ones he would come to in order to seek answers?