Chapter 140 - Underground (6)

Chapter 140 - Underground (6)


“So, Elrick, isn’t the armor stuffy?”

The hero’s question still made her sound very young.  The only part of the helmet that could be opened was the chin guard.  The warrior was eating the soup through this opening when he replied with a flat voice.

“It is stuffy.”

“So why don’t you take it off?”

“······Silpennon.  Do you mind if I beat this woman?”

“No.  Please refrain from doing so.”

The hero was very kind and beautiful, but she was a bit dumb.  Since the thief knew this, he desperately tried to hold back the warrior.  There were only three members in the hero’s party, and it would be ridiculous to lose one member for such a ridiculous reason.

“I told you I can’t take off my armor, Maetel.”

“I heard it, but….   Ooh-oong.”

The hero tilted her head.  Her bright golden hair flowed down to the side as a result, and Silpennon became mesmerized as he watched this sight.  He let out a fake cough.

“That’s weird.  The Mana emanating from the armor is tied up in a very complicated manner to Elrick….   If he moves his Mana like this and like that, I think he could take off his armor.”

“Silpennon.”

“Please endure it.”

The hero was a bit dumb, but her ability to control Mana was beyond exceptional.  It exceeded all imagination.  If she was the one inflicted with the curse, she would probably be able to move around the Mana of the curse to remove the armor.  That thought came unbidden to him, and it pissed him off more.  He was mad, because he was inferior compared to this idiot!

“Actually, I’m curious about something related to your armor.”

Silpennon took the ladle from the warrior, and he took his own portion of the soup.  He blew on his soup as he asked a question.  It hadn’t been long since they started their journey.  He looked young at that moment.

“No matter how I see it, the armor is full of ominous Mana.  You are incredibly skilled, so I cannot accept the idea that you put that armor on without knowing about the curse.”

“That’s true.  Incredible amount of ominous Mana keeps pouring out of it.”

“Hoo-ooh······.”

When the hero and the thief asked in unison, the armored warrior thought for a brief moment.  His armor clanked as he groaned.  He started speaking.  Since he was wearing the helmet, one couldn’t see if his mouth was open or not.

“······yes, that’s right.  Before I wore this armor, I knew what would result if I put on this armor.  In truth, I had already thought about what would happen before I put it on.”

“I knew it.”

“So why did you do it? Elrick, you don’t seem like the person to covet power.”

They hadn’t traveled too long with each other, but Silpennon and Maetel had already assessed Elrick’s personality.  Elrick loved helping the weak, and he couldn’t stand injustice.  Basically, he had the personality of a prototypical hero.  

If he didn’t have strength, he would have just been an idealistic fool.  However, he had possessed the power to meet out his own sense of justice even before he acquired the armor.  His power wasn’t solely from the cursed armor.  His power was derived from his fighting spirit and will.

“I······ I might have just wanted to hide myself.  In truth, the appearance of me inside this armor…..   It is embarrassing to show what I look like to others.  Despite this fact, I regret putting on this armor.  That is the irony in all of this.”

That is why his words were very unexpected.  The hero’s mouth had fallen open as she asked her question.

“Do you perhaps a big pimple on your cheek······?”

“Hey!  Kuh-huhk!”

Instead of the warrior, the thief tried to flick his fingers on the forehead of the hero.  However, the hero used her swift movement to dodge, and she reflexively kicked the thief on his shin.  The thief fell over in pain.  Afterwards, the hero finally realized what she had done.  

“I...I’m sorry, Silpennon.  I reflexively…..”

“No.  I knew about your reflexes, yet I couldn’t hold back on my instinct to act.  I’m the one in the wrong….  However, you should think about his situation.  He wore something he couldn’t take off once he put it on.  There is no way it is a pimple.”

“If it isn’t that, what is there to be embarrassed about?  Everyone looks different.  That is a given.”

The hero spoke innocently as her eyes shone.  Her attitude indicated that her opinion towards the warrior wouldn’t change no matter what the warrior looked like inside his armor.

She had always been like that.  It was impossible for one’s opinion of a person not to be influenced by a person’s appearance.  However, the hero never spoke ill about a person’s outward appearance.

They had travelled with the hero, and they knew she was genuinely like that.  That was why the warrior and the thief was at a loss for words.

“······yes, Maetel.  If it is you, I think you wouldn’t laugh when you see my true appearance.”

“Laughing means happiness, so why are you talking about it as if it is a bad thing······?”

“We’ll have to explain it to you starting from what you just said right now.  I don’t know where her innocence come from….”

In the end, both the thief and the warrior laughed.

“Right.  This might be impulsive of me, but I’ve made my decision..  One day I will get rid of this armor, and I will show you my true self.”

“All right.  I look forward to it!”

“Can it be that you are more handsome than me….”

“When dealing with Maetel, it doesn’t matter how handsome you are, Silpennon.  You should focus on improving your inner self instead of your outer appearance.”

However, in the future they met a black haired youth, who looked too handsome to be a normal merchant.  After meeting him by coincidence, the hero continued to be in a dazed state.  It seemed the hero didn’t discriminate based on outward appearance, but she wasn’t blind to outward appearance.  When Silpennon realized this fact, he despaired.



When he opened his eyes, Maetel’s face was right in front of his nose.

“Mwah.”

“······.”

“Ooh-huehuehue.”

Maetel was successful in ambushing Artpe with a kiss.  She wordlessly put on a smile of victory.  Artpe remained still for a brief moment.  When she puckered her lips to attack him again, he finally moved.  He flicked her on the forehead.

“Ah-yaht.”

“Hmm.”

Maetel didn’t dodge his blow.  She was in pain as she hunched her body.  Artpe watched her for a moment, then he got up.  At that moment, Vadinet opened the door to the room, and she entered.

“Artpe-nim, it is mornin…..  Ahhhhhhhh!  I should have known!  She ran away to this place!”

“Mlem!”

“Vadinet, I want you to give Maetel a forehead flick.”

“I will complete this mission as if my life depended on it!”

Vadinet immediately threw her body towards Maetel as she tried to give a flick to Maetel’s forehead.  The tenacity and enmity of a woman fueled her movement.  There was no way she was slower than Artpe!  She might have been moving faster than him!

However, Maetel’s supernatural reflex allowed her to dodge before Vadinet’s finger reached her forehead.  Then Maetel speared Vadinet.  Vadinet fell.

“Ah.  I’m sorry.  I did it on instinct.”

“Just one······ I just want to hit you once······!”

“I see, so that’s how it is.”

It seemed Maetel was able to dodge Artpe’s fingerflick, yet she was purposefully allowing him to hit her.  Vadinet was floundering on the floor.  Artpe helped her up, and he once again flicked Maetel on the forehead.

“Ah-yaht!  Eh-hee-hee.”

“Right.  You are a pervert.”

He already knew that the content of his dream was true.  His earlier order to Vadinet was a simple experiment to test Maetel’s reflex, and he had confirmed that her reflex remained the same as the version of her in her past life.  Maetel clung to him as if she liked being hit by him.  He pushed Maetel away as he asked Vadinet a question.

“It is morning? How does one know if it is morning down here?”

“It seems they created clocks.  They move according to a cycle they made up.  When it is night, they turn off the lights placed on the ceiling.  They even control the brightness of the lights depending on if it is the morning or midday.”

“They are doing that for this enormous city?”

Their technical skill really was unparalleled.  Artpe smirked as he exited the room with the girls.

For reference, Sienna and Regina had been in Glacia longer than the other party members.  This was why they were still asleep.  In any case, he didn’t particularly need their help, so he decided to let them sleep in peace.  The three of them opened the front door, and they went outside.

“I’m here!”

Elrick was there.  He had left yesterday in a very cool manner, but it seemed he had come running to this location as soon as the light was turned on.  

“Are you ready, Artpe!”

“You sound as if this will be the greatest challenge of your life.”

In the dream, Elrick had revealed that he had put on the armor, because of his appearance.  Elrick’s past life and his current life had diverged, but they had walked down the same road until the divergence.  It seemed he was ready to take off the armor and face his true self.  It didn’t matter which life he was in.  The desire was the same.

“Artpe, we’ll be bringing this guy into our party?”

“You heard our conversation yesterday.”

“No.  When Artpe pays extra attention to a person, it always turns out like that.”

At her words, Artpe smirked as he nodded his head.

“I’m sorry for making the decision without consulting you.  However, the trip to the Demon world is in our near future, and I thought it was imperative that we increase our battle capability.”

“No, I’m not complaining.  If it isn’t a pretty girl, I’m ok with it.”

Artpe thought that benchmark was a bit suspect when his surrounding became raucous.  It was none other than the Dwarves.  The Dwarves were speaking noisily.

“Hey.  I heard the humans that arrived yesterday will help Elrick take off his armor!”

“What!?”

“What’s the ruckus?”

“I told everyone to come here!”

It wasn't just one or two Dwarves.  One Dwarf called another Dwarf and that Dwarf called another Dwarf…..  In fact, there was even a Dwarf with a mug of ale in his hand!  When Artpe looked at Elrick, he also looked taken aback.

“There is no reason for them to all gather here!”

“Aren’t they supposed to be all busy from the battle?”

“According to the guards, there isn’t a trace of the Shadows of Sinners seen from the hole…...”

It was to be expected.  From the outside in, Roa was very meticulous in eating everything.  There was no way Roa would leave behind monsters that would crawl out of the entrances.

Basically, the Dwarves had received a special holiday thanks to Roa. It was just in time for them to hear about Elrick.  The issue of Elrick’s Armor became the main topic, and everyone had wholeheartedly sank their teeth into this issue.   There was no way Elrick could avoid attention now.

“Shit······.”

“What shall we do, Elrick?  Do you want to do it inside?”

“······no.”

Elrick thought about it for a brief moment, but he shook his head from side to side.

“I’ve already decided to reveal my appearance.  These Dwarves have been with me for the past three years, and they have worried about me, and they have looked out for me.  I want to face them confidently.  I want to show them my true self.  Please just do it here, Artpe.”

“All right.  ….I’ll start immediately.”

Accompanying a faint whirring sound, Artpe took out the Demite Pipi.  The Demite was activated to its fullest.  Artpe resonated his Mana with the Demite, and the power of his Mana was boosted.  He got into what could be called the basic stance of chanting a great magic.

“What the hell is that!?”

“My god.  I’ve heard about it before.  If one possesses that, it is said that one can make the strongest staff in existence.”

“Is he perhaps trying to give us that, so we can forge it into a weapon?”

“I want to touch it as soon as possible!”

Next, he took out a magic tome, which he had rewritten yesterday.  His Mana, which had been boosted through the Demite, poured straight into the magic tome.  After receiving his will, the magic tome floated into the air, and the pages started to flip on its own.

“Ohhhhhhhhhhh!”

“It is a massive magical reaction.  My god.  If it is him, he can probably wipe out the Shadows!”

“Does it really take that much power to remove the curse from Elrick’s armor?”

Their surrounding was starting to get noisy, but it couldn't be helped.  Artpe opened his two eyes, and he honed in on the magic tome’s target.  Of course, his target was the curse infused into the armor worn by Elrick.  He targeted its core.

[Kyahh-ha-ahhhhhhhhhhh!]

At that moment, a black stain appeared atop the armor.  It was as if it had been waiting for the moment when Artpe’s spell manifested!

“Koohk!?”

“Are you ok, Elrick?”

“Koo-ooooooooh. What the hell······!”

The armor worn by Elrick had originally been the armor of a berserker.  Until now, Elrick’s excellent mental capacity allowed him to control the power of the armor.  However, when the armor realized that it was about to be transmuted, it tried to forcefully take over Elrick’s mind.  Elrick was desperately fighting against it as he yelled.

“Koo-ahhhhhhhh!  How the hell is this a normal critical wound!”

“Are you an idiot?  How can there be anything normal in regards to a critical wound!”

“Artpe-nim, your explanation sounds different from before!”

He ignored Vadinet’s astute observation!  The magic tome, which was floating in the air, received Artpe’s will, and it started letting out more light.  Since the curse had revealed its true form, this would be more convenient from Artpe’s perspective.  He just had to overwhelm it, then….  He’ll reverse it!

[Kyah-ahhhhhhhhhh!]

“Koo-oooooh!  I’m gonna die!  I’m really gonna die!”

“It’s all right.  I never start a match that I might lose!”

The magic tome was created to flip a Demon.  The power of the curse was fundamentally different from the power of a Demon.  However, the vengeful spirit was much weaker than a Demon, so it couldn’t resist against the power of the magic tome.  It was gripped by the power of the magic tome.

[Keeeeeeeeeeee!]

“Great!”

Artpe tried to imprint the sensation he was feeling right now into his memory.  The last page of the magic tome was opened.  The Demite let out an explosive and blinding light.  The light put a stop to the movement of the vengeful spirit, and in the next moment, the magic tome’s power poured into the vengeful spirit!

[Koo-ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!]

The vengeful spirit’s death cry filled the square of the city.  It was powerful, and it was short.  The light, which had exploded out of the Demite, subsided.  All the light disappeared.

“Done.”

After using all its power, the magic tome fell from the air.  Artpe leisurely received it, then he put the magic tome into his pocket.  He truly had a gratified expression on his face.

He thought the magic tome was more than sufficient to turn a Demon.  Of course, he needed to use it on an actual Demon to gather more Data, but at this point, everything looked to be going well!

“...w...what?  It is already done?”

“Huh? It’s done? I’m not sure anything changed?”

The Dwarves had been looking at the struggling armor with interested eyes, but when they realized the job was already one, they blinked their eyes in disbelief.  Some even thought the procedure had failed.

“······my god.”

However, everyone’s questions were blown to smithereens by the armor’s owner Elrick.

“I can’t believe there really was a way to preserve the armor’s ability while exorcising only the curse…..   No, this wasn’t an exorcism·····.”

By the look of it, the armor hadn’t remained unchanged.  The black stain had changed into a blue marking.  It created geometric lines that covered the entire armor.

“Did you change it into a guardian spirit······!?”

“It wasn't a true soul.  It was merely a fragment of an obsession.  Just thinking of it as me changing the supplementary skill of an Artifact.  I did something similar to that.  What do you think?  It was a massive success, right?”

“It really is….amazing.”

As he spoke those words, Elrick’s helmet shifted.  It fell to the floor.  It was finally the moment when Elrick’s face was revealed!

“Kyahhhhhhhhk!”

“W...what the hell!”

······that was what they had thought.

“It is empty!”

“He has no head!”

“He really is a Living Armor!”

“Shit.  I knew it would turn out like this······.”

From within the armor, Elrick grumbled when he heard the reaction from his surrounding.  Maetel’s five sense were sensitive, so she tilted her head in confusion.  She thought, ‘His voice sounds different?’

The top half of the armor finally fell noisily to the floor.

“······huh?”

“No way.”

“Elrick!?”

“Shit······.”

In its place, a very small and cute boy with the height of 130 cm stood there.

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NaughtyOtter's Thoughts

Hey guys.  This is a sponsored chapter.  Thank you for the donations Unai and Jeremy.  Enjoy~