Chapter 60 - The Demon’s Mouth (1)
There was a basic value in the world. Based on observation, there was usually a regular value that was commonly used. Therefore, people felt uncomfortable when another person suddenly showed a ‘special’ value outside of that.
“One Iced Americano.”
"Yes, is a large size okay?” The boss of a cafe would ask.
Why bother not asking for a regular size first? Was it because he didn’t know the meaning of regular? Or was it because it was a negotiation psychology? Or maybe the person looked like someone who couldn’t say ‘no?’
Crockta felt like that at this moment.
‘Love Mode is currently locked. Do you want to activate Love Mode?’
Was this question even necessary? Wasn’t it the same as asking, ‘Are you human?’
What a frustrating question! Crockta answered decisively.
Crockta and Eileen headed to Quantes Academy.
It was a huge facility located in the center of Quantes and was the home of magical engineering research. All different types of works were being developed here. The Asura Thousand Wave Artillery, the core of the Quantes garrison, was created here.
The first person they visited was a creature specialist. Due to Quantes being right next to the north, the gnomes often encountered many creatures, which was why creature research was actively carried out in Quantes.
The gnome creatures specialist fixed his glasses and asked, "You’re going to the north?”
"I want to visit the Temple of the Fallen God.”
“The Fallen God, hrmm...”
Doctor Gnome swept back the white hair on his head. His body was small, but the wrinkles around his eyes made him seem like a twilight gnome that had lived for a long time.
“The Fallen God... It has been a long time since I’ve heard that name.”
“Do you know it?" Crockta asked.
The Temple of the Fallen God was known to a certain extent, but no one was able to correctly answer what it was.
"I don't know exactly what it is, I’ve only heard the name.” The Doctor Gnome buried himself deeply in his chair. "Please sit down. My neck will hurt from just looking up at you.”
This was the laboratory of Doctor Gnome, a creatures specialist. Crockta and Eileen sat down on the chairs in front of Doctor Gnome’s desk.
"For the Fallen God, the theological professors would know better than me, so you should ask them instead. I just know creatures.”
“I understand. What type of species live in the north?”
Doctor Gnome laughed. "Orcs like you.”
“Orcs live beyond the forest that separates the north and the rest of the continent.”
The reason why the northern territory was an object of fear was due to the Forest of Creatures. Few people survived when they entered the forest, but not much was known beyond that fact. It was the first time he had heard that orcs lived beyond the forest.
"Orcs and dark elves. There are also many species that don’t exist on the continent.”
"But right now, you should be more worried about what is in the forest than what is beyond it. That forest... Ogres are considered just ordinary monsters in there.”
Doctor Gnome opened a thick book on his desk.
"In particular, it has become strange recently. It is unprecedented for them to charge at Quantes like they have been these days... Those guys are too violent. Thus, it is far more dangerous right now. This is a book that I wrote, so look at the chapter on the north.”
Crockta took the book. The table of contents allowed him to roughly learn about the north. Ogres, trolls, wyverns, great worms, hydras, undead and other evil beings were listed in the index.
Crockta frowned. It was too diverse.
“That is a lot. Umm...” Crockta handed the book back, but the doctor refused.
"I don’t need it right now, so you can take it.”
"This is a reward for protecting Quantes, Ogre Slayer Crockta.” Doctor Gnome laughed. The news that Crockta had repelled the ogres with the gnome garrison had already spread. "Captain Tiyo told me. A great orc warrior.”
"It is undeserved praise.”
"Once upon a time, orcs and gnomes had a good relationship. The big and strong orc, and the small, but clever, gnomes. They helped each other, but that changed over time. That’s why this is good.”
Doctor Gnome smiled.
"Be careful when you venture into the north, as the creatures there are strong. I hope that you arrive safely at the Temple of the Fallen God, and that you find what you wish. I don’t know what you’re looking for there.”
"If you want to know about the Fallen God, then please visit this gnome.”
Doctor Gnome wrote something with a feather pen and handed the paper to Crockta. It contained the name of a theology professor, Doctor Eyona. On it was her address and a simple signature from Doctor Gnome.
"She is enjoying a sabbatical right now, so please visit her. If you say that I sent you, she will be quite happy.”
Crockta asked Doctor Gnome a few more questions about the north. The most striking story that he heard in return was about the origin of the forest. According to legend, it was originally an ordinary forest; however, an evil spirit died there, causing the evil aura to gradually grow bigger until the forest separated the north from the rest of the continent.
Crockta nodded his head. "Thank you for the help."
"I'm really honored to have helped a famous warrior.”
Crockta shook hands with Doctor Gnome. Eileen smiled as she watched them. It was around lunchtime when they left Doctor Gnome’s laboratory. Eileen asked, "Crockta, do you want to go see the Demon’s Mouth that I told you about?”
“Can I see it?”
She nodded. "A friend of mine works there, so he can give us a tour. How about it?"
“Okay. I’m also curious.”
"This might be the last chance. I don’t know when it will be permanently sealed.”
The gnomes who gave up on a topic of research would permanently seal it.
Crockta and Eileen walked away from the laboratory. The gnomes at the academy were surprised to pass by the unusual combination of an orc and elf. In some cases, the gnomes would gossip about Crockta.
"That orc, is he Crockta?”
"That is a big sword. I heard that he suddenly came and slaughtered the ogres with the guards.”
"He looks different from what I expected.”
"Is that his girlfriend?”
“The best warrior has an elf girlfriend.”
The appearance of the orc warrior Crockta and the beautiful elf Eileen stood out among the small gnomes. They received a lot of attention as they headed to a special facility on the campus of the Quantes Academy.
There were guards present at the entrance of the special facility in order to control access.
"Reveal your identities!”
The soldiers restrained them before Eileen took out a pass.
"I am Eileen from Ariel Academy.”
"Ah, a researcher dispatched to this city. Then, the orc next to you?”
“My guest. I will take responsibility for him.”
“I understand. Pass!”
The Quantes garrison soldiers were there to defend against theft. They opened the way. A gnome greeted them as they entered the special institute.
“Ohh! Eileen! You came!”
It was a male gnome. His eyes widened as he discovered Crockta. “Excuse me, that orc...?”
“I am giving him a tour. I will be thankful for any minute you can spare.”
Crockta extended his hand. “I am alive. I am called Crockta.”
“Ah, hello. I am Deco.”
Deco was smiling, but he didn’t seem that happy. Deco threw a strange glance towards Crockta, who inwardly laughed. Eileen said to Deco, "The Demon's Mouth, can you show it to us?”
“No outsiders. It is okay with just you, but both of you...”
He refused with a sullen expression. Eileen approached and placed a hand on Deco’s shoulder.
"I’m asking you Deco. Yes?”
"Can’t we see it for a second?”
“U...Understood. But hold on a second.”
Eileen smiled sweetly. Deco turned his head away. Crockta chuckled lowly as he watched the man and woman before him.
They walked down the corridor and arrived at a firmly closed door. Warnings signs were drawn all over, as well as the words stating that entry was forbidden for those without permission.
"Place this around your neck.”
It was a necklace with divine power contained in it. Each of them received one. There was an unknown refreshing feeling coming from the necklace.
"Is this much necessary?”
"It is quiet right now, but you never know.” Deco grabbed the knocker. “Now, we will enter.”
The door opened.
A seemingly ordinary belt made of steel was lying in the middle of the lab with various experimental instruments lined up around it. Crockta’s eyes were caught by the darkness surrounding the belt. It felt like he made eye contact with something.
He seemed to hear an unknown whisper in the darkness.
“The Demon's Mouth.”
Deco walked. The belt had a transparent wall blocking access to it. There were bright lights that shone and got rid of the darkness in the room. Nevertheless, Crockta felt an extreme darkness from the belt.
"Eats?” Eileen asked.
Deco squirmed and said, "Literally. It eats.”
Eileen’s eyes widened. In the middle of the belt were strong steel points that looked like teeth, giving it the name of ‘Demon’s Mouth.’
“The center of the belt opens and eats things. A gnome has already been eaten.”
"Oh my god..."
If so, this wasn’t an artifact, but an evil creature.
"The identity of it...is unknown. That is why we were studying it.”
Crockta looked at the Demon’s Mouth and started thinking. What would happen if he wore that thing? Would it turn its master into a demon that desired blood? He got a chill and formed a fist at the words.
The door behind them opened.
"Eh?" It was a female gnome researcher. “This is a restricted area...”
Deco gathered both hands together and laughed. “I’m sorry, I just wanted to quickly show it to my friends. Please overlook it this once.”
The female gnome alternated looking between Crockta and Eileen before giving a strange smile. "I understand. I’ll overlook it this time. I’m sorry, but it’s time for an inspection now.”
"Inspection time?” Deco tilted his head. “I understand. Eileen, let’s leave.”
Deco bowed to the female gnome and directed Eileen and Crockta outside. Crockta was about to leave the laboratory by following Deco.
Something whispered to Crockta.
Crockta turned around. The Demon’s Mouth was still enduring the light pouring on it. Crockta confirmed the appearance of the gnome researcher walking towards the Demon’s Mouth. Her gait was slightly strange and somehow familiar.
Suddenly, Crockta stopped.
Eileen called him from the doorway. Crockta looked at the female gnome without answering. He grabbed the handle of his greatsword.
"Call the guards.”
Crockta shouted loudly. At the same time, the head of the female gnome turned around 180°.
Grotesque movements, and a mocking smile on her face. Doppelganger. The female gnome smiled before turning her head back to the front and starting to run. Crockta also rushed towards the doppelganger.
"That is a doppelganger!”
Eileen and Deco panicked. It was at that moment that an alarm started to sound in the laboratory.
“Everybody evacuate! Evacuate!” Someone shouted from the end of the corridor. It was the voice of the guards. "A wyvern has appeared and the academy is being attacked by monsters! Run away. Evacuate! This is an emergency situation! We must evacuate now!”
Eileen called out to Crockta, “Crockta!”
Crockta didn’t look back. Deco tugged at the hem of her clothes.
"Eileen! We have to run away!”
She could see Crockta aiming his greatsword towards the doppelganger. The doppelganger was stuck to the transparent wall like it was being drawn towards the Demon’s Mouth.
The door of the laboratory closed. The inside of the laboratory couldn’t be seen anymore. Eileen was dragged out by Deco. Her mouth gaped open as the scenery of the academy was revealed.
“Oh my god!”
Eileen and Deco moaned at the same time. There were monsters were walking around the academy campus, trolls chasing after the gnomes, and ogres aiming their clubs at their surroundings.
A troll dropped from the sky. They raised their heads. Wyverns were flying around in the sky. Wyverns were flying from far away and dropping monsters on the academy.
“This is impossible.”
It was a sight they were seeing for the first time. After they finished transporting the goods, the wyverns descended to the ground to look for their prey. They captured gnomes and flew them up into the sky.
The guards led Eileen and Deco to a safe place, but they were soon blocked by creatures.
A troll carrying a stone axe drooled at them.
"We need to get through! Shoot!”
The defenders lifted their magic guns and fired, but that firepower wasn’t enough to kill the troll. As the troll stalled them, an ogre was drawn by the sound of the gunshots. The ogre lifted the broken debris of a building, a massive piece of rock, and took a position to throw it at the group.
Despair filled Eileen and Deco’s eyes.
At that moment...
A ray of light struck the ogre in the back.
The ogre fell down with the rock falling on it. Eileen looked back and saw a small gnome pointing a long gun from a distance.
"That will sting you!”
It was Captain Tiyo, the symbol of the Quantes’ Gnomes Garrison.
Praise the Orc: Glossary Link.
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