Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Underground City of the Ancient Gods 2
Most of the undead monsters that surrounded the adventurers were Undead Citizens, then the Skeletons. They kept on cutting them down, but the Undead Citizens never let up. As long as the mana flowing through their bodies hadn’t run out, they just kept on attacking. As such, pieces of flesh were scattered about.
「It stinks. Let’s just stay away…」
「Hikaru.」Lavia said, frowning.
She probably wanted to say that someone might die while he was joking around. One adventurer was on the ground, injured, while another one had run out of mana. The other three formed a triangle to protect their two friends.
「…I know. I won’t be able to sleep at night if these guys died. Get ready to use fire magic anytime, Lavia.」
Hikaru let go of Lavia’s hands and approached the undead from behind on his own.
He took down five of them in the blink of an eye.
「Wh-What happened? They just dropped dead!」
The adventurers had not the slightest idea what was going on. Hikaru had his Stealth on, after all.
「Why, if it isn’t the grown-ups.」Hikaru said as he disabled his Stealth.
「The hell?! It’s the kid from earlier!」
「He’s stealing from us while we’re drawing the Undead Citizens’ attention!」
Hikaru wanted to heave a sigh. He was clearly helping them out, yet they saw it as him “stealing” from them.
「Fine. You can have these rotting corpses. You grown-ups can handle the rest.」
「Why should I?」
「I said wait! Ugh!」
An Undead Citizen charged at one of them, causing him to lose his ground. Undead Citizens were coming straight at Hikaru as well, but…
Hikaru quickly backed away, and Lavia let her Fire Breath loose on two of the monsters, roasting them up.
「W-Wow… What the hell is that fire magic?!」
「Please help us!」
「You asses! Don’t you have any pride?! You’re asking help from kids!」
「I don’t care as long as they help us!」
「Is this conversation gonna take long? We’re in a hurry.」Hikaru cut in.
「Help us! Please!」their leader shouted.
「There you have it. Lavia.」
Lavia shot Fire Breath in quick succession. More than half of the Undead Citizens and Skeletons were reduced to ashes in no time at all. The adventurers took care of the remaining two. The strange aroma of burning flesh and intense heat filled the air.
Completely exhausted, the last three adventurers slumped down on the ground. Hikaru checked their Soul Boards in the meantime, but there was nothing that stood out in particular.
Sword 2, Long Sword 2, Bow 2 – that was it.
Disappointing, Hikaru thought as he grabbed Lavia and started walking away. Naturally they had to pass by the adventurers.
「What was it again? “They’re just going to die right away. That’ll only increase the number of undead in there”?」
Those were the words the adventurer said to Hikaru back at the entrance. The man froze.
「You should get the hell away from here once you catch your breath. The undead around here are all dead, but we made so much noise such that some might come from afar.」
The wounded adventurer who begged for Hikaru’s help without hesitation got up, his arm wrapped in a towel, not even bothering to heal it first. The others quickly followed and ran towards the entrance. Their leader was the only one left.
「The exit is over there. What, you don’t even know which way to go anymore?」Hikaru said.
「What are you gonna do?! What was that spell just now anyway?!」
「Fire Breath.」Lavia answered.
「It’s a basic fire magic.」
Hikaru and Lavia left the dumbfounded man and proceeded onward. After walking for about thirty meters, the adventurer couldn’t make them out in the darkness. Hikaru grabbed Lavia’s hand and activated his Group Obfuscation.
Hikaru stopped killing undead monsters. It was awfully inefficient in gaining exp for his soul rank, and they only wore out his weapons.
「If this were a game, my weapons would have unlimited use… No, wait. Some weapons have durability limits, I guess.」
「Just thinking out loud. Anyway, my dagger’s chipped already.」
Skeletons were tough. He had to crush their bones to cut through to its mana, causing his weapon to wear out in no time. He tried throwing pebbles, but the sound of them zipping through the air caught the attention of other monsters.
He thought maybe they could actually hear. But there was another explanation. Vibration. They might be able to sense vibration in the air.
Throwing stones up close was enough to destroy a Skeleton’s skull, but he found picking up stones just to conserve his dagger too bothersome so he stopped.
「We’ve made it quite far. Let’s take a break.」
Four hours had passed since they entered the dungeon. Hikaru took out his pocket watch.
There were clocks in this world — although rare — made by incorporating spirit magic gems from all four elements. Since they used magic, there was no deviation. It was an unknown technology for Hikaru. He just borrowed it from the guild, but he had to pay a huge deposit for it.
「It’s almost evening…」
They sat down. Hikaru took out a water bottle that used a water spirit magic gem to fill it up over time. Even just tiny pieces of the gem was enough, so it was extremely cheap.
After drinking warm, fresh water, he handed it over to Lavia who took it with both hands and drank in small amounts.
「You’re not going to collect stones?」Lavia asked.
「You mean magic rocks? If they’re rare, it might be a good idea to pick some up.」
「There’s one over there.」
About five meters away by the road, he spotted a rock the size of a go piece that shone in seven colors. They were used as magic catalysts, each costing around 500 gilans.
「I thought these things only popped up in sacred grounds.」Hikaru said.
「So I heard. Though they can be found in graveyards as well apparently.」
「I heard kids in the slum find them in graveyards. A good way to make money, they said.」
That was from Roland’s memories, who had plenty of knowledge regarding this kind of stuff. It was no surprise. After all, he researched the art of crossing different worlds.
「Maybe it’s the dungeon… or maybe they appear in places with plenty of undead monsters. I believe there are parties formed specifically to search for magic rocks.」
「Yes. There’s another one over there.」
There was another rock three meters ahead.
「I’m surprised you can see them.」
Lavia cocked her head.
「You can’t see them? I can see them clearly since it’s dark.」
「Really? Wait a minute…」
Hikaru disabled his Mana Detection.
「Oh, I see it.」
He looked back down the road and spotted three magic rocks. The mana flowing within them actually made it harder for him to see with his skill on.
「Detection sure is hard to use.」
「It’s nothing. Let’s make some more progress. I want to try fighting undead monsters at night when they get stronger.」
Not long after they started walking, they happened on stronger undead. The ones they’ve met so far just charged straight, groaning and grumbling, but these monsters were quite different.
「They’re freakin’ athletes…」Hikaru muttered to himself.
The monsters were fast, dashing all over the place. Some clung to the walls, climbing them swiftly. The sight of a Skeleton jumping around was enough to make him smile.
「It looks like they don’t notice us, but taking them down is a pain…」Hikaru said.
「It must be the darkness, but I’m getting sleepy.」
「Let’s have dinner then sleep.」
They entered a nearby house and closed the door shut. Hikaru burned some holy oil before turning his Stealth off. It seemed the guy from the guild was right. Undead didn’t come close.
They heard voices coming from out front.
「Turn back?! That’s ridiculous! We’ve come up dry because we’re only going to low-class areas. I paid good money for you guys!」
「Come on. We’ve only got a little bit of holy oil left. We’re close enough that we can make it back while lighting it up along the way.」
「And you call yourself an adventurer?!」
「Adventurers don’t actually risk going on dangerous adventures, Sir Noble.」
Sounds like another trouble, Hikaru thought as he peeked through the door to see what was going on.
「Ponsonia Royal Family Relics Research Society Expenses… What’s this?」Kudyastroia said as she lifted her face up from the documents. An official was with her in the office, but he was already preparing to leave.
「Your Highness, can we do that tomorrow?」
「Please just check this. They’ve had quite the enormous budget since five years ago. This year’s budget is two hundred million gilans.」
「The Ponsonia Royal Family Relics Research Society must be using it.」
「And I want to know what exactly this society is.」
“I just want to go home right away” was written on the man’s face. He pulled out a list of official public organizations from the bookshelf.
「Ah. It’s a research society created by Sir Valves. Once a relic from the royal family is excavated, they immediately purchase it for study.」
「Sir Valves… The historian Gafrasti N. Valves?」
「I see you know him.」
「Isn’t two hundred million too much? Does my father know about this?」
「It says here His Majesty backed up the society’s foundation.」
Kudyastoria looked puzzled. Indeed, her father was a backer of plenty of organizations, but he was only lending his name. Most of them were actually started by pretty ladies. In other words, he was basically using the kingdom’s money to give allowance to his women. She hadn’t heard of her father backing up a serious organization like this one. The budget was absurd as well.
I haven’t heard of my father talking about the kingdom’s history or the royal family’s past. I wonder what this society is really about. Five years ago… Did something happen five years ago?
She contemplated whether to look into it further or not. Right now they were at war with the Quinbland Empire. She didn’t have the available resources.
「I was wondering if I should look into this… What do you think?」
The official had already left the office.
Kudyastoria heaved a sigh, put the papers on top of the pile, and began working on the next one.