After another 10 minutes of interrogation, Annan slowly lowered the blade in his hand.
Ken Carter was cooperative.
Annan had already dug pretty deep in his questions — everything directly related to this nightmare, how should “Ritual: Feast of the Great Hunt” be interrupted, the people participating in the ritual, the time, the exact location, and the passwords.
He had also discovered some helpful periphery information. For example, the dark secrets looming around the royal heirs and the kingdom’s higher nobility. He even found out about the Noah Kingdom’s views, knowledge, and perception of the Austerians and the Austere-Winter family. All in all, he had looked into whatever rabbit holes he could find.
Of course, he couldn’t be sure whether the information itself was correct, whether Ken was telling the truth, and whether what Ken knew was accurate.
But still, Annan didn’t necessarily need so many “truths”.
All he needed was a “general gist” and a direction in which he could investigate further. Since it was just a surface understanding, there was naturally the possibility of misremembering and forgetting.
Those would be the reasons Annan could use to avoid revealing any flaws in his character. As for the detailed information, he had to launch a further investigation.
“So, I can’t stop them even after smashing the Magnetic Stones…” Annan frowned slightly.
The ritual was already established.
Even if no “Magnetic Stones” played the catalyst role, the ritual would still be activated. The difference was that the ritual was no longer restricted at the “banquet” but spread out.
For example, Ferdinand’s position was at the southeast corner of the hexagram. The bottom right of the equilateral triangle.
If that particular Magnetic Stone were broken, the southeast corner of the ritual would be relocated to the kitchen basement once activated.
Consequently, the ritual would target everyone in the area between the banquet hall and the kitchen.
No doubt destroying the Magnetic Stones wouldn’t “save more people”. It might even take more lives. The Magnetic Stones weren’t used to “activate the ritual” but to prevent this dangerous ritual from hurting itself.
Sure enough, putting efforts into the Magnetic Stones wouldn’t solve anything.
It was a fine plan if the mission issued was to “reduce casualties”. After those people realized that the Magnetic Stones were being destroyed and that the rituals were locked on them, they would hold the ritual differently.
If the “person selected to speak the lines” included their people, they could only choose to “close the curtain” and put an end to this ritual. Even to be on the safe side, they might end the ritual as soon as it started.
Annan knew in his heart that this should be the easiest way to clear this dungeon.
It was also the most preferred way for others.
Annan reorganized his plan. Typically speaking, the dungeon challengers would enter the garden and meet Kafni at the beginning. Then, they would quickly realize that Kafni was the key NPC at the first moment.
So far, the flow should be similar.
What would be different was that others who entered the nightmare would have to struggle to find a way to gain Kafni’s trust first. Then, they had to let her lead the way and find the six key locations of the ritual. This seemed to be the necessary route to clear the dungeon.
But if the dungeon challenger faced a problem in gaining Kafni’s trust and the time was delayed, the redhead and Ferdinand would have completed their tasks in meeting up. Ferdinand would also get the Magnetic Stone and leave.
If the dungeon challenger couldn’t get rid of Merlin when he came to the kitchen, then he couldn’t directly attack the redhead under Merlin’s surveillance and protection.
In both cases, the best the dungeon challenger could do was to figure out that “Ferdinand” was suspicious after observing him leaving or observing the exchange of shifts.
The time Ferdinand met with his accomplice was half an hour before dinner. In this short period, the only way out was to observe Ferdinand’s movements in the banquet hall and find an opportunity to steal or destroy the Magnetic Stone. Then, the dungeon challenger would realize the key to completing the dungeon.
Then, he had to look for an opportunity to destroy the Magnetic Stone in the north, where the king was. With that, the ritual wouldn’t include Henry VIII.
After all, the Third Prince Philip presided over the conspiracy. His purpose was to reduce the numbers and strengths of his siblings and possibly to please the Rotten Man by dealing critical damage to the Austere-Winter brothers. But he wouldn’t really kill King Noah.
The reason was simple.
The current first-in-line heir was not Philip but Elizabeth. After Elizabeth, there was the second prince who was still alive. If the two of them didn’t die first, then he wouldn’t inherit the throne anyway when King Noah died suddenly without leaving a will.
So at that time, they had to end the ritual.
This should be the original trajectory of history.
This incident led to the tragic death of several heirs. Also, the Rotten Man’s forces infiltrated the higher nobility of Noah Kingdom because many nobles and officials who participated in the banquet had also died.
All in all, the dungeon challenger who followed this process wouldn’t know why their actions could resolve the dungeon unless they knew this ritual already. Hence, the decryption reward should be pretty low.
If Annan wanted more decryption rewards, he must resolve the root cause of the nightmare dungeon as much as possible and conquer the dungeon entirely.
Annan could only think of three ways to clear the dungeon.
First, he would transfer the four people he wanted to protect to a particular corner of the hexagram. Then, he would quietly destroy the remaining five corners of the ritual’s hexagram without alerting the ritual host. Soon, when the culprits realized that something was wrong, it was too late. They had to stop the ritual immediately with no way of fluking the ritual.
It would become unlikely for this ritual to kill anyone anymore. Even though the ritual operated randomly, the Tragic Writer would handpick the targets into the list. Since He wanted to capture the climax of a drama, He would probably kill the king first.
However, Annan doubted that resolving this nightmare in this way would offer any decryption rewards. The strategy was a fluke.
This was probably the reason why Elizabeth should be kept alive. As long as Elizabeth wasn’t included in the king’s ritual, the culprits had to end the ritual immediately. This was the quick fix in conquering the dungeon.
Secondly, the perfect way to clear the dungeon was to ruin the entire ritual. The ritual was already adequately arranged. Once the Tragic Writer was summoned as the audience and the explosions were triggered to “open the curtain”, the ritual would start operating.
In this case, forcibly terminating the ritual must be in direct conflict with the Tragic Writer. The Tragedy Writer was so angry that he might even summon a few envoys to kill the people ruining the ritual. This must be the most brutal way to clear the dungeon. In this case, Annan wasn’t confident that his identity could be kept secret anymore.
Annan could only choose the third way.
First, I have to figure out who is the owner of this nightmare… Who could it be?
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