Chapter 156 – Chapter 29: War Destruction #7
The large forest was wider than In-gong had imagined. As they ventured deeper, In-gong’s anxiety grew.
‘This is the right direction.’
The information he’d gathered from Knight Saga gave an estimated location of the ruins, but he hadn’t experienced it directly. The forest was so wide that even if the rough direction was right, any slight error would make them arrive at a remote location.
‘I hope that the ruin stays the same size.’
As with everything else in the forest, if the ruins were too big, he might have trouble finding it on the mini-map. Therefore, In-gong focused on the mini-map while riding on White Eagle.
Two hours later…
“This is the first time I’ve passed by this area.”
Galang said in a voice which was filled with admiration and respect. The other Gullam hunters were also very excited.
Galang and his group were excited about being about to go into this area.
There was a colony of red ants in the area. Just like everything else in the forest, the ants were enormous and almost the size of a human body. There were thousands of ants, and the ground itself seemed to be red.
Even Felicia, who had seen many things, had to cover her eyes at the terrible sight, but that wasn’t the only problem.
Galang called the red ants, the Flaming Ants. It wasn’t due to their red colour but because of their nature. The Flaming Ants covered anything in their territory, without caring about living or dying. Thousands of red ants covered the bodies of their victims and ate them instantly, giving them a resemblance to the flame ants.
However, the party simply passed through the area of the fire ants. Half of it was thanks to Felicia’s barrier of fire and the other half was thanks to In-gong’s new power.
“Won’t people get out of your way every day?”
Carack said brief words of appreciation, and In-gong responded with a bitter smile. He didn’t want to deny it, but the newly awakened power was something he hadn’t thought about.
It was a dragon’s innate power, just like the Dragon Breath.
As its name suggested, Dragon Fear was the ability to instill fear into the beings around him.
As soon as he realized it was innate just like Dragon Breath, he could use it immediately.
It was only level one, so the impact range was small, but the effect was obvious. In-gong used Dragon Fear, and the colony of ants opened up a path for them. Through this open path, Felicia expanded her fire barrier, creating a truly safe passage.
While the Gullam hunters honoured him, In-gong looked at the mini-map. The reason he had descended from the sky down to the ground hadn’t been just to break through the colony of ants. The location of the ruins was shown on the mini-maps, so it was no longer necessary for him to stay in the sky.
Fortunately, their direction was still correct. They just needed to travel a little further to arrive at the ruins.
“It will be breathtaking.”
Night was approaching. Perhaps by the time they arrived at the ruin, the sun would just be setting.
Of course, camping in the forest was a risk. There was a reason why the Gullam lived in the outskirts of the forest, away from their hunting grounds. At night, the prey would become the hunters. There were also many nocturnal animals which didn’t show up during the day. If they camped in the wrong place, they might never wake up again.
Could they find a camping spot near the ruins? If they couldn’t find the right place, they would have to camp inside the actual ruins.
In fact, it was common during exploration to set up camp sites within the ruins. There were walls and ceilings, so it was easier to secure their safety inside, than a place where every side was open.
The question was whether the ruins were dangerous. They wouldn’t know if there was anything inside until they searched it from beginning to end. An unexpected spell might be activated while they were sleeping, or they could be attacked by a dungeon monster or protector of the ruins.
In that case, the walls and ceilings would become obstacles to isolate the party.
“I think that I am worrying too much.”
There was the possibility of danger, but risks always existed when going into ruins.
Felicia looked away from the Flaming Ants and expressed her opinion,
“If there is a multi-floor structure, even if a magic trap is activated, it is unlikely to affect the whole ruins, and we will be ready for magic from the beginning. There were always traces of the magic circuit left behind. And if we camp near the entrance, it won’t be so difficult to escape.”
Felicia was the one with the most experience in ruins exploration. Carack nodded and asked,
“Don’t you just dislike camping in the forest?”
“Ah, no? Do I have to justify this to you? Would you prefer mud instead of walls, ceilings and hard floors?”
Felicia wasn’t embarrassed and said it openly.
While everyone was laughing, In-gong focused his gaze on a place far away. It was a big empty space beyond the bushes.
Galang and the other Gullam hunters gave cries of admiration. They had lived in the forest all their lives, but they had never imagined there would be such a vacant place.
Felicia looked around from Galang’s shoulder. The vacant lot was hundreds of meters in diameter and was much lower than the surrounding areas, like a type of basin. In the middle of the empty space, In-gong saw a stone structure. The entrance of the ruins was just high enough for the Gullam to pass through.
“Are these underground ruins? Maybe this isn’t a dragon lair.”
Felicia muttered in a small voice. The dragon lair was the nest of a dragon, so a big entrance leading to the outside was needed. Of course, Kaltein’s lair in Sun Lake didn’t have such an entrance, but that was a rare case.
In-gong rose on White Eagle to a point where he was eye level with Galang.
“Let’s explore the area around the entrance. Arranging a camping place is imperative.”
As expected, the sun was setting. They had to search for a campsite before it became dark.
Galang answered sincerely before rushing toward the ruins.
There were no traces of magic power at the entrance to the ruin. The walls were solidly laid and didn’t seem to have any added magic power.
The amazing thing was the air inside the ruin. In contrast to the humid forest, the air inside was very cold and dry. It was a double layered structure which led underground like Felicia speculated, and it had a spell at the underground side.
“This is a very old ruin. At least 5,000 years… maybe more than that.”
Felicia got down from Galang and spoke while touching the walls of the stone ruin. She used a type of magic which could measure age, like carbon dating.
The ceiling of the ruins was very high for In-gong’s group, but not for the Gullam hunters. In particular, Galang was the tallest and felt quite frustrated because there was only one palm height between his head and the ceiling.
Fortunately, the corridor was quite wide. There was plenty of space so that three Gullam hunters could walk side by side at the same time. Galang led the party into the ruins while holding a torch. Outside the ruins, it was already dark.
“I don’t feel any signs of movement inside. There isn’t even a big animal.”
Galang said with narrowed eyes. He was somewhat puzzled.
Ruins with their walls and ceilings were a haven for many animals and plants. Due to this, there were usually many dungeon monsters and various flora and fauna inside old ruins.
In-gong was reminded of the dwarf cave he had used when fighting against the Red Lightning tribe. There had been rock spiders and other flora and fauna inside the cave.
“Although there seems to be… bugs. We can rest easily.”
Felicia looked at the Carack-sized spider on the ceiling. Even though there were no big animals, there were still living creatures. It wasn’t unreasonable to camp overnight here.
The inside of the ruins was basically a straight corridor, with several rooms on the left and right. It seemed like the corridor would become a crossroad if they went deeper, but In-gong’s group stopped exploring in front of the first room.
“Let’s make preparations for the camp.”
There were walls and ceilings, but this wasn’t enough. There was a large room which was 50 meters long. This wasn’t big for the Gullams, especially Galang, but they made sure it was well-ventilated before setting up a campfire. The room was soon filled with a red light.
It was bare of any furniture, and the ceilings and walls were old, so it was hard to find traces of anything.
“We should set it up.”
In-gong nodded at Felicia’s words and opened his inventory. Unlike the Gullams who were ready after the campfire, In-gong’s group still had a lot of work to do.
In-gong took out all the materials to build a big tent. He then pulled out the sleeping bags and cooking utensils. The last thing he took out was a bathtub made of pottery.
“Shutra is the best! Too convenient!”
Felicia touched the bathtub excitedly. Galang and the other Gullam hunters stared at In-gong with wide eyes.
“I’m getting used to this now.”
Carack set up the tent with Karma, and Delia opened a screen and large parasol around the bathroom to set up a bathing room. It was a place without a waterway or well, but it didn’t matter. Felicia called the water spirit and filled the bathtub instantly. She didn’t forget to use the fire spirit to heat up the water as well.
In-gong then pulled out a leather rug to place it on the bottom of the tent. Despite not bringing a big bag, the campsite was like a luxury accommodation with a kitchen and bathing room.
“Shutra, I’ll wash first.”
Felicia had been sweating all day, so she couldn’t be happier. She took Delia and Karma into the temporary bathing room. They had a change of clothes because of In-gong’s inventory. In-gong used magic to light a fire with the firewood Carack had collected, then he took out cold beverages and handed them to Carack.
As the Gullam hunters kept staring in surprise, Carack look at the cold beer in his hand and laughed.
“I once again realized that I am on a trip with a prince.”
In-gong was able to provide a camp of this luxury in a short amount of time. This was because Felicia could use magic and spirits for easy convenience, while In-gong could fit various equipment in his inventory.
“I’m sorry. The size of the Gullams means this was the only thing I could bring for you.”
In-gong’s face filled with regret as he brought out large spice shakers almost the size of a human body, which contained salt and pepper.
“Thank you for this.”
Galang laughed and put the wyvern meat onto the campfire. As the smell of roasting meat spread, there was the risk of gathering beasts from the forest. However, the party had Green Wind. Green Wind gathered the smell of roasting meat and blew it far away into the sky.
“Well, even I think it is a scam.”
In-gong said as he sat on a chair and watched Carack cook. Felicia and the women left the bath almost half an hour later.
In-gong suddenly opened his eyes. He was in a small one-person tent. There were animal skins and a few blankets on the floor, with Green Wind sleeping beside him. She had a warm body temperature in a solid form, while she was a cool breeze in her semi-solid form.
At first, he was a bit embarrassed about sleeping next to her, but he was so used to it now that he couldn’t sleep well without Green Wind.
In-gong blinked a few times while stroking Green Wind’s head reflexively. He hadn’t simply been woken from his sleep.
Green Wind asked in a sleepy voice. Despite being a guardian which didn’t need to sleep, she felt sleepy due to her experiences in the past.
Instead of answering, In-gong got up. He summoned a small light spirit and left the tent.
Galang, who was standing guard, turned toward In-gong. The rest of the Gullam hunters were gathered around the campfire, while Felicia, Delia and Karma’s tent was quiet. Carack was lying at the entrance of In-gong’s tend and opened his eyes with a loud grumble.
In-gong didn’t answer. He raised a hand for Galang and Carack to remain still.
No sounds could be heard. There was only the sound of wind passing through the hallway. However, In-gong knew instinctively—no, he could feel it.
The great dragon warrior—
Its voice was calling In-gong.