Chapter 64 – Those who Swallowed the Nahak (1)
Mimi had the outward appearance of a woman in her mid-20s . The gleam of her cold blue staring eyes was visible under the hood she wore over her head .
She raised her staff .
“I’ll ask again . Who are you?”
“Number 34 . ”
Sungchul pointed toward the cloth number that was attached to his coat . Mimi did not truly understand the meaning behind the number .
“I see . Mr . 34 . Ok . How did you get here?”
Mimi looked towards Bertelgia who was flying about behind Sungchul .
“Ms Mimi! She is flying about~yeyo! It’s amazing~yeyo!”
“That’s called a familiar, yeyo . Don’t flap your lips if you’re ignorant~yeyo!”
The homunculi that had been playing about beneath her skirt grew rowdy . When she lifted her staff, The homunculi lowered their head and immediately quieted down . Azrael looked at Sungchul again with an interrogating glare as order returned to the dungeon .
“Now . Your answer is?”
Sungchul looked at her without any trace of hesitation as he answered her in a firm voice .
“…I am currently investigating what is inside this dungeon . ”
When she heard his reply, she revealed a cold smile .
“Big balls on this one . I don’t know where you herald from, but I advise you to retreat from here within a week . ”
“For what reason?”
“The Seventh Champion of the Continent . Willie Gilford is on his way here . ”
Nothing would change whether he was here or not, but Sungchul remained silent .
Mimi looked over at the hole created by Sungchul .
“What is this? Did you perhaps do that?”
Sungchul neither admitted it nor denied it .
“A living book type familiar… you appear to be a magician . ”
She had already looked over his stats through the translucent fog . It wasn’t anything impressive . It was why she chose to reveal herself without anyone to support her .
“What’s it to you whether I’m a magician or not?”
Sungchul finally spoke . Mimi looked at Sungchul with a chilling glare before turning around with a nod .
“Chief Investigator Ujira . Use the veil . ” she said to one of the homunculi .
Mimi and the five homunculi were then surrounded by an invisible fog which removed them from sight .
“I’ll warn you again, but it’s to your benefit to leave quickly . There are mighty Sword Masters here as well, then in a week’s time…”
She let her words intermingled with hostile intent linger in the air as she disappeared into the darkness . However, Sungchul had the Eye of Truth within his Soul Contract . The figures of Mimi and her five homunculi veiled by the invisible fog reappeared into his sights .
Sungchul hid his presence and quietly tailed Mimi .
She walked along silently like a cat before arriving at a specific area . It was an empty plot that was surrounded by hastily made fortifications . There were about fifteen soldiers and members of the exploratory squad catching their breath .
There were quite a bit of injured left . One of the soldiers was muttering something to himself as he punched the air . Perhaps he had been critically wounded . He was gradually dying by himself in a dark corner as even the magician tending to him had given up . Mimi took off her invisible veil at this point .
“One human died~yeyo!”
“People who bully us getting what they deserve~yeyo!”
The calmed homunculi began to grow rowdy once again .
“Ms Mimi already suggested abandoning the ruins and retreating, but why are these humans so stupid as to ignore her advice~yeyo?”
“At least the day that we become true fairies are arriving sooner due to that~yeyo!”
Annoying voices poured out in all directions from the empty plot . It was at that moment
“Can’t you shut up?!”
One man suddenly shouted . It was Willie Gilford’s son, Mikhael Gilford . The confident youth with an elegant armor that was fitted to his form made his way towards Mimi with anger on his face .
“How many times do I have to tell you to muzzle those fucking Homunculi? Hm? What are you going to do if those monstrous creatures show up again, you damned witch . ”
“… Your voice seems to be quite a bit louder?”
Mimi didn’t show any change in her expression even in the face of Mikhael that had engaged her so aggressively . Mikhael glared at her response as though he wanted to tear her apart with his bare teeth for a long while before chewing on his lips and taking practice swings with his sword .
“This was why we shouldn’t have brought a fucking witch! Garbage that uses taboo magic should have always be cut down with a blade!”
“If you cut me down, you might as well put an end to this scouting mission . I’m the only one that knows the way . ”
Mikhael’s face twisted a degree further . It was then a man stepped up to hold him back . The man in his forties with a large scar across his face was in a servant’s attire that didn’t suit his solemn expression .
“Young master, there is no good that will come out of this anger . ”
“Mmm… Old man Ord . ”
Surprisingly, Mikhael looked as though his anger had washed away as the man stepped in . He had an unnaturally rapid change of heart as he looked back toward Mimi with a refreshing smile as he offered her an apology .
“I was in the wrong, Scout Leader . It looks as though the tense situation made me lose control of my temper . It was immature of me . ”
Mimi heard his apology, yet made no reaction to it . She instead made a report on her scouting mission with a frozen expression as though she was looking at an inanimate object .
“…I’ll give you my scouting report . ”
Mikhael leaned onto a rock as he nodded .
“When I arrived at the source of the noise, I ran across what appeared to be a male human mage . ”
“A human? His affiliations?”
Mikhael looked surprised and quickly made his inquiry .
“I can’t determine his affiliations . He called himself number 34 . However, he was dressed like a beggar in a pitiful attire of a summoned . He also had a living book familiar . ”
“A living book, eh? What a rare type . How is his strength? Is he up to a mid-grade magician?”
“I did peek at his stats, but it wasn’t outstanding . However, I can’t discount the possibility that he might be disguising his stats . It could also be some devil disguised as a human . ”
“Devils don’t come to this place . They can’t come here . It is a place crawling with their natural predators . ” said Mikhael with a smile .
“I tried to look around for his companions but found nothing . ”
The report ended here . Mikael made a gesture for Mimi to stand down before he gathered his subordinates and personal servant to discuss .
“Another explorer . Who do you think sent him?”
“There shouldn’t be any new developments regarding the Underground Kingdom . We should consider all possibilities . It is most likely that he’s from the Human Empire, but we can’t discount the Kingdom of Etteria . No one is more thirsty of magic than the elves . ”
“But, if they can find that, they should be able to produce a monster on the level of the Enemy of the World . ”
Sungchul, who was quietly hiding in the darkness, eavesdropped on their conversation . He could discern two facts: the exploratory unit within these ruins was seeking a particular item, and the information regarding the Underground Kingdom was publically available .
‘It appears as though Deckard was not the only one to have discovered information relating to the existence of the Underground Kingdom . ’
Rather, Deckard’s information was only baby steps at this point . He couldn’t even find the entrance to the Underground Kingdom . It looked as though this exploratory unit knew much more . They knew what was hidden in this dungeon and the dangers lying within . Sungchul could now understand why Willie Gilford had hesitated in stepping in personally . He knew that the Despair of the Abyss had been sighted here . There was no other explanation other than this .
Sungchul left his hiding spot and returned to the darkness of the dungeon . He walked from the entrance back to the path he had created .
When Sungchul arrived at a point devoid of people, Bertelgia spoke again .
“Those Homunculi . It looked as though they were strengthened artificially . ”
Sungchul had perceived that those homunculi were different than the average ones, but he didn’t pay much mind to it . At his level, homunculi would always be homunculi .
“But that woman is amazing . ” continued Bertelgia
“She must have played around with some grotesque experiments on the bodies of those homunculi, but they still follow her explicitly . ”
“Play around with their bodies?”
“Those homunculi . Do you remember that their bodies were completely clad in armor? It isn’t just to protect them . It was probably to prevent them from looking at their own appearances . ”
It was nearly nonexistent in Sungchul’s time, but empowered homunculi must have been commonplace during the era Bertelgia was from . The population was decreasing, but they needed the power of magic . They had begun to modify the homunculi that had a human’s intellect to make them prolific for combat and support . The biggest drawback was that the known techniques for strengthening would horrifically disfigure the homunculi’s appearance .
“So that was a thing . ”
Sungchul had confronted countless magicians, but he had never seen any that had strengthened homunculi .
“It was probably banned . Such a horrific method was fated to be entered into the list of forbidden spells someday…”
Sungchul who had been listening to Bertelgia’s story in silence finally discovered a red light beyond the darkness . There was a mound of human corpses . The red light emitted from a magic staff held by one of the corpses . Sungchul carefully looked through the bodies .
‘A year? Maybe 2? These bodies are in a better condition than the avian corpses . ’
These corpses were mummified upon death and retained much of their former appearance . The cause of death appeared to be suicide . Even the corpses with bluish blemish indicating poisoning had daggers shoved up their throats with their own hand .
Sungchul discovered a worn out diary on the body of the mage dressed most eloquently among the corpses . Parts of the record was too damaged from the fluids leaked from the corpse to be read, but the final page had been preserved . Sungchul read through the last page with a nose full of revolting smells .[Day 14]
Everything is proceeding smoothly . I already await the day that his imperial majesty sounds the news of his victory .[Day 15]
Wesley and Jara, who had met eyes since a while back, asked me to stand in as their officiant . They requested to hold their ceremony in the Audience Chamber of the Nahak King . The audacious ideas of the Summoned often astound me .[Day 16]
Jara had disappeared . Wesley left without notice in search for her . I only pray to the God of Order that everything is ok .[Day 17] [Day 18]
42325 54423 99832 31125 34238
88823 42321 11232 44235 19321
88768 11132 08323 13578 69180
The records ended at this point . Bertelgia who was reading beside him asked with a quizzical expression .
“What are those last set of numbers?”
“It’s an encrypted message . ”
Sungchul pulled out a faded book from his Soul Storage .
It was a book printed from a rotary press of the modern world . The old book contained a lot of numbers within, but there was also an explanation proceeding them . It was a solution manual for sending secret messages via encrypted broadcast . Sungchul had received this book directly from the Emperor of the Human Empire, William Quinton Marlboro . Before their relationship deteriorated, anyways .
Sungchul opened the book and began to seek out the random numbers along with the explanation following them to decipher the message . The deciphered message was as follows:[Third Floor Underground, Existence of Massive Cavern, Large Number of Eyeless Monsters, Attacked, Relay Farewell to Family, This is my final request . ]
“What was it trying to say?”
Bertelgia hurried him by poking on his shoulder . Sungchul closed the book and returned it to his Soul Storage before speaking .
“It looks as though there is definitely something underground . Monstrous men without eyes seem to be living there . ”
The avian corpses were just the prelude to what was to come . There were creatures more bizarre and grotesque lurking beyond them . Sungchul put down the record to continue his exploration of the dungeon . When he finally discovered the stairs leading down to the floor below, Bertelgia diligently recorded Sungchul’s path in her pages .
Sungchul descended the dark spiral staircase which was littered with skeletons of the avian race . An obsidian door blocked his path at the end of the steps . The Eye of Truth reacted to the magic cast upon it .
‘This is dangerous . ’
It was a destructive magic that was powerful enough to cause the entire dungeon to collapse if he activated it carelessly . This was not something that a hammer could solve .
Sungchul approached the door .[This is a place that only the holy and majestic avian, Nahak, may enter . ] [Display the symbol of the Nahak . ]
“What should we do? It doesn’t look as though it’ll just let us pass . ”
Bertelgia circled Sungchul’s vicinity while speaking with a concerned voice . Sungchul looked around the door’s surroundings .
Before the door was a small altar with a hole and just below it was an obsidian shard . The obsidian, which was still emitting magical energy, looked just about the right dimension to fit inside the altar hole . Sungchul placed the shard inside the altar as a test . Immediately, magical energies of the altar enveloped the shard then dissipated once more .[Display the proper symbol]
A sculpture in the form of the avian emitted a red light from his two eyes .
Sungchul retreated for now .
“What should we do now?”
He ignored the bickering of Bertelgia who was following beside him and took a few steps forward .
‘This looks good . ’
It was an ordinary bedrock with no reaction to magic whatsoever . Sungchul pulled out Fal Garaz and swiped at the floor . When the hammer struck the ground, the large bedrock cracked and broke off .
As the entire dungeon shook, hundreds of avian corpses appeared before him . Sungchul resumed his work after the one-sided slaughter . A large hole appeared where he had been pounding away with his hammer, and he jumped into the hole .
A weighty landing . The back of the blackened stone door that refused to open stood behind Sungchul .
“Bertelgia . Draw out the map for the second floor starting from here . ”