Chapter 123

The party kept walking down the tunnel. They could see the traces of battle left behind by Mrs. Ross and the Golem all over the place. Since they now knew the story behind the creation of these marks, they couldn’t help but look at it through different eyes. Tim and Emily occasionally looked at the traces with sadness in their eyes.

However, Sungyoon was worried about something more urgent.

‘Does the entrance from which Mrs. Ross came here still exist?’

Mrs. Ross had defeated the Golem that had tried to seal the door. However, there was evidence of multiple Golems existing. What if a second Golem had appeared after Mrs. Ross killed the first Golem? That Golem might have sealed the entranceway.

‘Please. I hope that didn’t happen.’

If what he thought was the reality, they would suddenly have to become miners. They’d have to dig their way out through the thick bedrock.

Finally, the tunnel came to an end.

But it seemed Sungyoon’s worries weren’t unfounded. The party didn’t come across a door through which they could exit the cave. Only a wall as thick as a bedrock faced them.

“N... no way…!”

Tim mumbled to himself in a dejected manner when he saw the rock wall blocking their way. They had found the broken Golem and their mother’s corpse. They had gained much in acquiring the Gems and Devices, their mother’s keepsakes. However, if they couldn’t escape this place, it would all be for naught. Sungyoon and Emily didn’t express it out loud like Tim, but they were also dejected when faced with the reality in front of them.

“Let’s look around for now.”

After speaking those words, Sungyoon started to inspect the rock wall. Tim and Emily pushed down their heavy hearts and also joined in.

Sungyoon tried tapping on the wall. He could tell it was hard, but there was also a bit of softness to it.

‘We’ll have a hell of a time breaking through this.’

They had avoided the worst-case scenario of the rock being too thick and hard to dig through. Sungyoon walked parallel to the rock wall with his eyes wide open. He didn’t want to miss any small information that might benefit them.

Fortunately, fate hadn’t abandoned them.

‘This is...!’

He had found tiny portions of the door peeking out through a pile of rocks. From what he could gather, it was a double door where two doors swung open from the same frame. When entering this place, Mrs. Ross had opened only one of them. Sungyoon wondered if the Golem thought the hole was only as big as the opened door. It might have thoroughly covered up only that door.

Of course, most of the other door was buried in rock. However, they were regular rocks compared to the bedrock covering the other door. The party could break through the regular rock. At the very least, it would be much easier than trying to break through the bedrock.

There was hope now. They could get out of here. Sungyoon quickly approached the door. He raised his hand and knocked.

Boom! Boom!

There was space beyond the door. Sungyoon subconsciously made a fist.

He quickly called out to the Ross siblings.

“Mr. Tim! Ms. Emily! There is a door here!”

When they heard this news, the Ross siblings immediately ran toward him.

“There’s a door?”

Tim swiveled his head as he looked for the door. Emily stood next to him, and she looked at Sungyoon with anticipation in her eyes. Sungyoon didn’t say anything as he pointed in front. The Ross siblings could clearly see the door buried within the rocks.

“Oh shit! It really is a door!”

Tim immediately ran, and like Sungyoon, knocked on the door. He could hear the sound ring out on the other side, and his face brightened.

“Awesome! Let’s immediately destroy it and…!”

Ddah-ahk!

He had been about to summon his newly-acquired ax when his sister smacked the back of his head with her staff. Tim was wearing his new helmet, so it didn’t hurt. However, this didn’t mean he appreciated the gesture.

“What the hell! Why did you hit me!”

He grabbed the back of his helmet, frowning at Emily. However, Emily glared at him with sharp eyes.

“You never think before you act. If you make a hole in the labyrinth, the Golem will show up. You want to call that thing into existence without making any preparation?”

Tim had no rebuke for Emily’s sharp words. He kept rubbing at the back of his helmet as he backed off from the door. While Emily chewed Tim out, Sungyoon inspected the door more closely.

The door looked as if it was carved from a stone. Its surface was smooth. He could see the bumpy bedrock suddenly became a flat and smooth surface. However, fancy geometric symbols were carved on the surface. It was a telltale sign that this wasn’t an ordinary wall.

It had taken a lot of damage, and cracks were present everywhere. But from what he could tell, the doorknob was still intact.

“Where did this come from?”

Emily moved up to Sungyoon’s side as she asked the question. However, Sungyoon had no answer.

“I’m not sure.”

He could only say this.

“Anyway, let’s get out of here.”

They couldn't stay in this cave forever. However, Sungyoon remembered Emily’s words, so he had a hard time taking action.

“Will a Golem show up?”

“The probability is high.”

The Golem had shown up as soon as a hole had appeared in the labyrinth. Mrs. Ross’ diary also mentioned that one had appeared not too long after she opened the door. It would be wise to assume that a Golem would show up if it detected large damage to a labyrinth, like a hole in the wall.

“Still, we can’t stay here indefinitely.”

Tim, who had been sulking in the back, spoke up when he heard Emily’s words. Sungyoon and Emily agreed with him.

“We have to exit this place. Let’s come up with a plan assuming a Golem will show up.”

Sungyoon’s words were the starting point. The three of them started discussing an escape plan.

“Mother was able to defeat it. Won’t we be able to defeat it too? Emily and I have become stronger with the newly-acquired Gems, and there are three of us.”

It seemed Tim wanted to defeat the Golem as soon as it appeared. He didn’t like running away, and in some ways, the Golem was his mother’s killer. Even if his mother had taken down the Golem that had critically wounded her, Tim saw all Golems as his enemy.

However, Sungyoon shook his head from side to side.

“She only faced it head-on when she was sure the Golem had weakened. In other words, we won’t stand a chance when it initially shows up. Moreover, we have no idea how to weaken the Golem.”

“As expected, running away is the only option?”

Emily agreed with Sungyoon’s pessimistic view, and she gave her own opinion. Tim didn’t sound too thrilled as he replied.

“However, it chased after mother. Isn’t a fight with the Golem inevitable?”

“Not really. When we encountered the Golem for the first time, it was quietly fixing up the labyrinth. If we attacked it on sight, our party would have been wiped out.”

“I agree with Ms. Emily’s opinion. This was the case with the Goblins and Mrs. Ross. What if it only reacts like that on being attacked?”

Sungyoon brought up a good point. Tim came to the conclusion that Sungyoon’s theory held a lot of merit.

“So we won’t be in danger if we don’t attack it?”

“No. I think it's too premature to assume that. We really don’t have a lot of information. There is the possibility it might attack anyone that enters into a fixed area around its body.”

Sungyoon pushed back on Tim’s opinion. The three of them once again mulled over the problem, but they couldn’t come up with a clear solution.

However, they couldn’t just stand here doing nothing. It wasn’t as if they were going to gain more information as time passed.

“As soon as we get out, we have to run away as fast as we can. That’s the only solution.”

It was such a simple idea that it made them shameful that they had spent so much time pondering. Still, Tim and Emily nodded at Sungyoon’s suggestion.

“As expected, that’s our only choice.”

“Thankfully, the Golem doesn’t appear as soon as the labyrinth is damaged. At the very least, the appearance of a Mana Stream will tip us off, not to mention the bright light preceding its appearance.”

Their discussion came to a conclusion, and the only thing left was to carry out the plan. The three of them firmed their resolve.

Tim possessed the strongest weapon amongst them, so he was tasked with destroying the door and killing any monsters barring their path on the other side. Emily would be in the middle. Her battle capability was too low, and she had to be protected. Sungyoon would bring up the rear, protecting their backs as they would run away.

Hoohng!

Emily cast all her support spells on the party.

“I’m doing it!”

Tim raised his ax. Nervousness was clear in his eyes. He had to break through this stone door as fast as he could. If he failed to make a big enough hole, the party wouldn’t be able to pass through. It would be the worst-case scenario if the Golem showed up while they were stuck.

“Hoohp!”

He let out a short shout as he put strength into his body. His ax flew towards the stone door at high speed.

Zzuhk!

Fortunately, the White rank weapon easily damaged the stone door. They could see the space beyond. However, creating a crack in the door wasn't enough. He had to make it big enough for a person could pass through it. So, Tim raised his ax once again.

Puhk! Puhk! Puh-uhk!

He continued to swing his weapon. Debris started to rain down as the door started to show signs of significant damage. 

After a short amount of time...

Kwahhhhng!

The door crumpled to the ground, and the labyrinth was revealed.

“Run!”

Tim yelled out loud as he jumped through the hole. Emily followed next with Sungyoon bringing up the rear.

As soon as they exited through the hole, they could tell that they were back in the labyrinth. Thanks to the abundance of magical energy in their surroundings, their vision cleared in an instant.

-Ggoo-roo-roo-rook?

They saw two monsters standing in front of them. These monsters were muscular and around 180 cm tall. They looked so ugly that a person of faint heart would be afraid to see such a face in their dreams. The most noticeable feature of their bodies was their rough gray skin. Sungyoon had never seen these monsters before.

“They are Orcs!”

Emily, who had been running in front of him, yelled out.

The Orcs were taken aback when the party suddenly jumped out of a newly-made hole in the wall. The monsters just froze in place, and the party didn’t waste this golden opportunity.

“Hoo-ahhhhht!”

In a flash, Tim closed the distance to the nearest Orc and brought down his ax.

Kwah-jeek!

The weapon smashed through the Orc’s defensive gear, cutting through the shoulder to the opposite hip. The monster couldn’t even let out a scream before it died. Tim immediately turned to kill the other monster, but Sungyoon’s halberd was faster than his ax.

Poo-shoohk!

Sungyoon had thrown his halberd with great strength. The spear blade of the halberd went toward the Orc’s head, squarely piercing the region between its brow and destroying the brain. Then the halberd disappeared from the ruined head. Tim saw Sungyoon resummon the halberd back into his hand. 

“What’s wrong, Mr. Tim?”

“Ah. It is nothing.”

His head had been getting a bit bigger because he had become somewhat stronger after taking possession of his mother’s keepsake. However, that feeling was squashed in an instant. He once again realized that Sungyoon was an amazing person.

At that moment, a sensation washed over their skin. It was the sensation of magical energy moving in a turbulent manner. Their faces stiffened.

It was the Mana Stream.

It didn’t matter who went first. They all started running at full speed.

Flash!

A light flashed behind them. Something was being summoned. They already knew what would show up, so they put more strength into their legs. In a flash, they had moved far away from the hole that they had exited. They could hear a large boom ring out from behind them. A chill went down their spines. They thought the Golem might be chasing after them, so they concentrated on their hearing even as they ran full tilt. 

Fortunately, they didn’t hear the heavy footfalls of the Golem chasing after them. However, this didn’t mean they stopped running. All the forks in the tunnel had been labeled in the past by Mrs. Ross, so they followed the directions. They didn’t care about formation. They just did their best to minimize the risk and cut down the monsters with one strike before moving past them. Sungyoon didn’t hold back on using his magic spells. Of course, they didn’t have the luxury to pick up the moonstones.

How long had they run like that? They saw the staircase leading up to the next floor, and climbed it in one go.

They finally stopped after arriving on the 7th floor.

“It isn’t following after us, right?”

Emily was fearful as she looked down the stairway. Sungyoon approached the stairway and focused his hearing downstairs.

It was quiet.

“I think we got out fine.”

Tim and Emily flopped down to the floor at the same time.

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