[Side Story]

[Ragnar, Sumeri, Nikolai]

Cthulhu was an enigmatic and cosmic entity.

He was venerated by zealous devotees who were drawn to its mysterious power. While the Great Old One (Cthulhu) remained indifferent to their adulation, it nonetheless derived considerable benefits from their unwavering worship.

Ragnar and his companions embarked on a dangerous mission to confront the cultists and unlock the portal leading to Cthulhu's lair.

Only Ren possessed the knowledge of how to activate it, leaving Cthulhu's dungeon untouched, awaiting its first challengers.

The cult of Cthulhu served as a crucial instrument in the endeavor to rouse the Great Old One from its eternal slumber, engaging in countless grotesque rituals with a slim hope of awakening Cthulhu.

These unfortunate souls encompass a horde of monstrous beings, transformed humanoids, and other nightmarish entities.

Upon Cthulhu's awakening, these throngs would be unleashed upon the world, heralding their master's resurgence through a cataclysmic wave of bloodshed and chaos.

In the ancient annals of time, Cthulhu, a cosmic entity of incomprehensible magnitude, had slumbered. Yet, its cult, fanatically devoted, ceaselessly toils to expand its sinister influence, all the while offering insidious services in the name of the Great Old One.

As the cult's nefarious activities slowly came to light, an opportunity arose for the players to step into the abyss of eldritch horror.

The quest that Ragnar and the others undertook unveiled the cult's grand design — a malevolent mission to awaken Cthulhu from its aeons-long dormancy.

To accomplish this nefarious goal, the cult sought to complete eldritch rituals capable of raising R'lyeh, the submerged tomb of Cthulhu, from the abyssal depths of the sea.

The players must marshal their resources and wits to thwart the cult's abhorrent schemes and prepare for the impending awakening of Cthulhu.

However, all the players had a grave misunderstanding about the quest, which was why no one had ever reached Cthulhu's lair.

As Ragnar and his companions delved deeper into the occult knowledge surrounding Cthulhu, they couldn't help but notice several other groups within the dungeon.

"I don't understand why we're here. Other guilds have already cleared this dungeon. I don't see why we should do it all over again," one player grumbled. "It's not like we could clear this dungeon in its Sadistic Mode."

"The higher-ups gave the orders. If you have complaints, take it up with them," another responded.

"They did mention there's something more to this dungeon since Cthulhu didn't appear as the final boss."

"But they couldn't provide any specifics as to what."

"That's why it's up to us to investigate."

"We've been here multiple times, and nothing new has come up."

"Hey, look. Isn't that World Conqueror?"

"Yeah, you're right."

"What are they doing here?"

"See, I was right. There's definitely something going on with this dungeon if World Conqueror is here right now."

Ragnar and his companions paid little attention to the hushed conversations around them as they prepared outside the boss's door.

"Do they have a death wish, challenging this dungeon with just the three of them? Are they suicidal? Don't they know what the boss in there is like? You need at least ten or more members with you," someone remarked.

"Who cares about that? Shouldn't we attack them and claim the bounty on their heads?"

"We should. There are only three of them. Now's our chance."

"What a bunch of idiots."

"What was that?"

"World Conqueror has proven themselves time and time again against all odds. Just because there are only three of them doesn't mean they're foolish. It means that each of them is worth ten players.

"If you haven't learned anything from those idiots who went after them and ended up dead, then go right ahead. But don't complain later when you lose your items because you died."

There was a moment of silence, but no one initiated an attack. The players exchanged glances and waited for the others to make their move.

When Ragnar and Sumeri met their gaze, everyone quickly looked away, pretending to be engrossed in their conversations and activities.

"Is there a line here?" Sumeri inquired of the others.

There was a brief silence before some of the other players stammered, "Y-yes."

What a beautiful woman. Everyone thought.

Sumeri then turned her gaze toward Ragnar, who had been designated as the leader for this mission, and asked, "What should we do? Should we wait?"

Ragnar responded, "Unless you have a better idea in mind."

Sumeri grinned playfully. "We could always eliminate everyone in line, so it ceases to exist, and we can complete this mission quickly."

Those who overheard her gasped and eyed them warily while a few readied their weapons.

Ragnar interjected, "Let's not waste our items. We'll just wait for our turn."

Those who had heard sighed in relief, and some muttered about their apparent arrogance.

Sumeri giggled. "I never thought you'd be so patient."

"Did Silvia tell you that?" Ragnar inquired.

"Yeah," Sumeri replied. "Speaking of which, I can contact Silvia to help us out here."

Ragnar shook his head. "Don't bother. She's probably busy with her own guild problems."

Sumeri's smile widened. "Aren't you just the sweetest fiancé?"

"No," Ragnar retorted. "I just don't want her here."

Sumeri burst into laughter. "Poor Silvia. Now I understand why she complains about you all the time."

Ragnar and Sumeri continued their chatter, but their exchange abruptly came to a halt as an eerie silence descended upon the surroundings. It was as though the very air had been sucked out of the room.

Ragnar and Sumeri exchanged a perplexed glance, their expressions shifting from casual conversation to alert vigilance.

It didn't take long for them to realize the reason behind this sudden hush. Emerging into view was none other than the Black Lion, and led by none other than Invayne herself.

Sumeri's eyes immediately narrowed upon sighting Invayne.

This time, there were about a hundred members of the Black Lion guild, each clad in imposing armor and bearing weapons that gleamed menacingly in the dim light of the dungeon.

The sheer presence of the top five guild sent a shiver down the spines of those present, except Ragnar and Sumeri.

They immediately knew that this mission suddenly turned complicated.