Chapter 137 - Underground (3)

Chapter 137 - Underground (3)


[Nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa!]

[Kee-ahhhhhhh!]

[M...my energy…..  It’s being suck away…….!]

A massacre was occurring within the large space underground.  A black fog of unknown nature was letting out a weirdly cute roar as it covered the open space.  The black monsters, who were trapped within the fog, kept screaming as they shriveled up.  They fell over and died.  It was such a horrible sight that many wondered if this was what it was like witnessing the Demon King at work.

“Good.  She’s doing a good job eating all of them even if there are a lot of them.”

When he witnessed this sight, Artpe nodded his head as he put on a satisfied expression on his face.  Sienna was standing next to him.  Her eyes had turned round as she mumbled her words.

“They all seem to be easily over level 200…..”

“All the while, Roa has grown a lot.”

Artpe’s party was acting in an extremely leisurely manner.  The warriors were flustered by this sight.  Until a moment ago, they had been fighting for their lives.  These people had shown up from nowhere, and they had killed several hundred to several thousand of their enemies!  Their enemies were dying without being able to put up much of a resistance!

“W..who are you guys!”

“Are you our enemies?!  Are you guys from the Demon race?!”

First, Artpe was going to cut off the idea that his party was the enemy.  Artpe pointed towards the black fog that was zipping across the square.

“I’m her owner.  Moreover, I’m human.”

It was unexpected, but the Dwarves weren’t using the common language of the continent.  They were using an ancient language.  However, Artpe was fluent in most languages, so it wasn’t too hard to reply in the same tongue as the Dwarves.

“It is as I have expected!”

“Still, that doesn’t guarantee that they aren’t our enemies.  I’ve never seen a magical beast capable of swallowing the Shadows of Sinners!”

“We are deep underground, so how did these humans get here?”

It didn’t matter if the Dwarven warriors were in a state of confusion.  Roa enthusiastically continued to satiate her appetite.   It didn’t take too long for the Shadows to be eradicated from the square.  There wasn’t a single one of them left.

“My god······.”

“B...be on guard.  That thing ate all of them!  We might be next!”

The short Dwarven warriors kept hanging back as they bunched together.  The sight was a bit adorable, but that wasn’t important right now.  Roa looked across the square to the location where the Shadows had exited.  Roa turned backed into the form of a black cat as she stared at the deep black hole.  She nodded her head as she returned to Artpe’s arms.

[Nyaa nyaa nyaa, nyaa-nyaa-ah.]

“I see.  It leads to a different place.”

Artpe let out a bitter laugh when he heard Roa’s explanation.  He never expected such a horrible ‘Dungeon’ to exist below the surface of the world.

Just the presence of the hole dyed its surrounding with Demonic energy.  It was also a Dungeon that periodically spat out evil spirits from within.  It was no wonder the Dwarves were trapped underground.  It was understandable as to why they no longer appeared above ground.

“A...a cat?”

“He really is its owner.”

The Dwarven warriors quieted down.  Artpe had gained the upper hand by merely having Roa in his arms.  He smirked as he took a step forward.  The Dwarves flinched, and every one of them clenched their weapons harder.

Artpe spoke.

“Hello.  It is nice to meet you.  As an aside, do you guys have any Quests for us?”

It was the proper way to handle a first meeting with a different race!  

The Dwarves thought they were going to fight a battle that would determine the fate of the entire race.  They had been trembling at that thought.  When they heard Artpe’s random question, they tilted their head in confusion.  

“Q...Quests?”

“This is our first meeting with you, so why do you think we have Quests…..”

“Everyone be quiet.  We have one person that can speak on the same eye level as them.”

“Ah, that’s right!”

It seemed the Dwarves had come to a conclusion.  Several Dwarven warriors quickly turned around, and they quickly ran into a tunnel.  On one end of this enormous square, there was the hole where the evil spirits had crawled out from.  On the other side, there was a tunnel that presumably led to the territory of the Dwarves.  

‘As expected of the Dwarves...’

Artpe had been surprised when he saw the existence of the long tunnel.  Aside from the Dwarves from the legends, it was impossible to excavate and maintain structures so deep within the earth.

“Please wait a moment here.  We live below the earth, so we aren’t good at understanding complicated things.  Fortunately, we have a comrade that is quite bright.  He will be able to speak to you on the same eye level as you.”

“The words I want to convey isn’t that difficult to understand….  All right.  I just want you all to understand that we hold no hostility towards the Dwarves.”

When one of the Dwarves spoke to him in a courteous manner, Artpe let out a bitter laugh as he spoke.  Artpe and his party members had show up from nowhere, and they had slaughtered several thousand monsters.  They had kill them, because the monsters possessed Demonic energy.  The Dwarves were like the Elves.  They were of another race.   Artpe wasn’t going to attack them.

‘······maybe, they are reacting this way, because they know about how humans treat the other races.’

It hadn’t been too long since he had settled the problems between humans and the Elves.  When he thought about that incident, Artpe just shrugged his shoulders.

“So?  When is your comrade coming?”

“I received a report that said the fight in the other cave is almost done.  It shouldn’t be too long.  …..ah.  Here he comes.”

The Dwarf’s complexion visibly brightened when he saw his comrade running through the tunnel at a rapid rate.  It made one wonder how strong and dependable this comrade was.  When Artpe raised his gaze…..

“Uh······.”

He froze in place when he came across someone in the most unlikely place.

“Living Armor?”

“He is wearing an extremely large armor!”

“Appalling amount of magical energy.  ….outward appearance looks funny.”

“Oh my.  It is true.  He will be able to speak to us on the same eye level as us.   …..physically.”

Since the Dwarves mentioned a comrade, he had expected it to be another Dwarf.  He had been wrong.  Even if the height of Maetel and Artpe was combined, this man might be taller.  He was wearing enormous full plate armor and helm.  There was a large axe and shield strapped to his back, yet he was running at high speeds through the tunnel.

“Are they enemies?!  Leave them to me!”

“Wait a moment, Erick!  We aren’t sure if they are enemies!”

The Dwarves, who were chasing after him, kept yelling at Erick.  They wanted him not to be rash in his actions.  However, it was as if the words of the Dwarves went in one ear and out the other.  Erick gripped his axe as he increased his speed.  When Maetel saw this, she started unsheathing her sword.  However, Artpe stopped her before she unsheathed it fully.

“That guy has no intentions of attacking us.”

“Ok.  Understood.”

It was as Artpe had predicted.  It looked as if he was planning to chop down the party with his axe, but he slow down as he got closer to Artpe’s party.  He came to a complete stop in front of them..

“Mmm.  They aren’t enemies!”

A very tough and manly voice rang out from within the armor.  Artpe smirked as he nodded his head.

“Yes, we aren’t your enemy.  If you consider those monsters covered in Demonic energy as your enemy, we might be able to help you out.  Of course, a suitable recompense would be needed in return.”

“I like the fact that you are honest!  It is nice to meet you.  My name is Elrick! ······ah.”

“I’m Artpe.”

The man tried to take off his gauntlet, but he reacted as if he had forgotten something.  He just pushed his hand forward as is.  Artpe didn't hesitate as he lightly grabbed the gauntlet for a handshake.  Artpe let go afterwards. 

“I’m sorry.  I cannot take off my gauntlets right now.  I keep forgetting about that fact.”

The man put on an apologetic expression on his face.  In truth, his face was not visible, because of the helmet.  At the very least, his voice sounded apologetic.

“I understand.  A lot can happen in this world.”

[Nyaa-ahhhhh.]

As if she agreed with Artpe’s sentiment, Roa let out a meow.  However, Artpe patted her as if to say it wasn't time yet.  Roa had just finished a gluttonous feast, so she wasn’t particularly hungry.  Roa assented as she gave a short cry.  Then she completely disappeared into his pocket.

When the man saw a cat shake her tail as she settled into Artpe’s pocket, his voice rose in surprise.

“So this cat ate all the Shadows of the Sinners?  It really is an incredible familiar.”

“That’s right.  She is quite useful.  By the way······ You call them Shadows of Sinners?”

When he checked it with his Read All Creation ability, he found out that they were Ancient Evil Spirits.  However, he didn’t want to call them by such a strange name, so Artpe settled on calling them Shadows of Sinners.

“I learned it from the Dwarves!  In truth, it hasn’t been long since I’ve arrived underground.”

The man sheepishly scratched his head.  However, when he realized that his hand was just scratching his helmet, he brought it down.  No matter how one looked at it, the helmet looked uncomfortable.  However, the man was showing no signs of taking it off.

‘No, that’s not right.’

Artpe checked himself.  The man wasn’t taking off the helmet and gauntlets out of sheer stubbornness.  He couldn’t take it off.

[Light of the Fighting Spirit]

[It was an armor worn by the continent’s greatest berserker Alturk.  He wore it up until his death.  A curse was placed on the armor by his vindictive spirit.  As a price for gaining massive power, the wearer becomes bound to the armor.]

Amongst curses, this armor was infused with the highest ranked curse.  The suffering created from not being able to take off the armor was immeasurable.  He didn’t want to feel sympathy, but Artpe felt sympathy for the man.

“It seems you’ve suffered a lot.”

“As expected of a magician, you recognized it immediately.”

The man nodded his head.

“I acquired this armor by chance.  When I put it on, I discovered that I couldn't take it off.  At first, I travelled to Paladia, but they denied me entrance to the city.  I was told I looked too suspicious.  Next, I went to Aedia, but the first thing those bastards did was to put a strange contract in front of me.  That is why I wandered the world, and in the end, I arrived underground.  I thought maybe the Dwarves had some method of getting this off.”

He had travelled all over the world for the single goal of getting his armor off.  In the end, he arrived at the underground world where the Dwarves lived.  Unlike him, Artpe’s party had arrived at this location through the help of the Winter Queen.  They used a half-assed method to reach this place.  Elrick’s story was worthy of someone that was a main character to a story.

“I’m sorry, Elrick. If our techniques were a bit better, we would have been able to take off  your armor.”

“It’s all right.  It’s all right.  By coming here, I found a foe that I can fight, so it wasn’t a loss.”

“Elrick, you are incorrigible!”

“That’s······ Hmm.”

It seemed Elrick and the Dwarves had a friendly relationship with each other, but it wasn’t the time for all of this.  Artpe let out a small fake cough, and Elrick finally turned around.  He was human, but Elrick was the representative of the Dwarves.  He had to bargain with Artpe’s party!

“Artpe, it seems you guys didn’t use the same tunnel as me to reach this place….  How did you arrive so deep underground?”

“When we cleared a ruin, a powerful magical energy threw us towards this place.  That is how we reached this place.”

“Ah, I see.  I guess that can happen.”

Artpe’s explanation was too abridged, but Elrick just accepted Artpe’s words.  He seemed like a complete mess, but the Dwarves were also nodding their heads.  It seemed all of them were abnormal.

“That means you guys came here by chance, and you don’t plan on acting hostile towards the Dwarves….  Moreover, you want to receive a Quest from us.”

“That’s right.  It seems you guys are having trouble fighting the Shadows of Sinners.  I think we’ll be helpful in solving that problem.”

“It is an offer that is as surprising as your sudden appearance….  All right.  Wait a moment here.”

Elrick nodded his head.  He turned around, and he conversed with the Dwarves.  As that was going on, Artpe’s party was also whispering to each other.

“Dwarves are adorable.”

“They aren’t as strong as that man, but they seem strong.  All this time such a powerful force was buried underground.”

“Interesting.  Exploration is the mother of magic.”

“This isn’t something we can accomplish in a day or two.  Is that ok, Artpe?”

“Yes.  I was undecided until a moment ago, but I decided there is something worth acquiring here.”

He was in the territory of the Dwarves.  They were a race that he had never come across in his past life.  Then there was the strange monsters that was infused with Demonic energy.  In the beginning, he thought they were the reason why the Winter Queen had sent them here.  However, such thoughts were wiped cleaned from his mind when he saw Elrick.

‘I never expected to find the warrior of the hero’s party here.’

The man named Elrick was wearing heavy armor, and he was laughing heartily as he spoke to the Dwarves.

He was one of the original three members that had joined the hero’s party.  Even when the hero’s party had reached the Demon King’s castle, the warrior had continued to be the sturdy backbone of the hero’s party.

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NaughtyOtter's Thoughts

Hey guys.  This is the other regular chapter for this week.  Enjoy~