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The golden mystery

Everyone who heard Brendel describing the Golden Apple Tree paused for a moment when they saw the lone tree in the distance. The mercenaries who overheard about the part where no mortal could leave when they saw fairy queen, shivered in fright when they linked the tree to Brendel’s story.

They immediately kept their glances to a minimal, afraid of being trapped here forever. They had just escaped from Madara’s undead with much difficulty to survive, but they did not have any intention to stay here forever.

But Brendel did not care about the fairy tale at all. He had searched the entire valley along with all the other players in the game. It was certainly mysterious for the residents that lived here, but in the game there was nothing but a desolate land and fog, not even an animal.

There was no monsters, no treasure, no living creatures. The legendary fairy queen in the lore spread about only through the mouths of the NPCs, and no player has ever seen her.

And that was why it shook him to the core when he saw the tree. He was more than certain that there was nothing like that in the game.

[The way how we got into the valley had not changed at all, and the scenery matched my memories. There was nothing in particular that’s worth noticing either in the day or night… But there’s something that has changed here. Timing differences…? Unlikely… Was there a mission about this? I don’t think so…]

Brendel rubbed his forehead.

[Then… this reality is different from the game? Or someone carefully hid his experience within the game because it’s a one-time mission? The latter seems like a better fit, but how did he get all the secrets in this area? Is it triggered by the number of times one enters the valley?]

Brendel clenched and unclenched his fist.

[Let me think… The first player discovered this area… announced the information excitedly in the forums… then there was some form of NPC confirmation that a knight had gone to that area after the player found that area…. And then another player from a guild confirmed the rumors shortly after that… I feel like I’m forgetting something important.]

Brendel was uncertain about this unforeseen event, as it meant that there could be something that was beyond his calculations. Yet his heart was racing from this unknown event, especially when this secret mission was something that had never been discovered before.

[The rewards must be off the charts since it involves ancient lore!]

He quickly made up his mind and made a gesture to let the mercenaries to get the refugees to stop marching. Time was slowed down in this place, and three full days here was equivalent to a single night outside this area. They could stop and eat, explore the entire valley and not take more than a single day.

He saw Leto looking at him in a puzzled manner. Brendel pointed at the tree and said

“I feel there’s something wrong and I want to check it out.”

“Do you ne

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