Chapter 113

Of course, Estellade didn’t answer him.

“S-Sir Zich, did you just pull out the holy sword?”

“I saw it too.”

They muttered in excitement. For aspiring heroes like Hans and Snoc, the holy sword was the symbol of a true hero.

“Can anyone pull it out?”

“I doubt it. Sir Zich said it was a holy sword, and even he looked surprised that it came out so easily. I bet not anyone can pull it out.”

“Then, will Sir Zich become a hero?” Hans murmured, and Zich regained his senses. 

Thud!

He immediately stuck Estellade back into the ground. The sword shuddered once, and Zich took three steps away from it.

‘A hero? How could he say such chilling words…!’

Although he was trying to live a kind life, it didn’t mean that Zich was really a kind person—at least, that was what he thought. He couldn’t imagine himself swinging the holy sword while people called him a hero.

‘Ah, damn it! I’m scared I will hear it even in my dreams.’ Zich shook his head intensely and stepped down from the podium. 

“Huh? Are you not going to take the sword, sir?”

“I’m not interested. I didn’t come here to get that sword anyway. And to tell you the truth, do you think a holy sword would even fit me?”

Both Hans and Snoc made the wise decision to remain silent. Zich stared at the sword from far away with his arms crossed like Estellade was a filthy thing.

‘It really is pretty though.’

Tornium looked heavy and plain in comparison. Except for its black blade, there was nothing special or unique-looking about Tornium; it was as if the sword was only crafted to fulfill its duty. On the other hand, Estellade was beautiful enough to be called an art piece. Even if Zich held the belief that ‘a sword simply had to perform well,’ Estellade’s performance didn’t lag behind Tornium in any way.

‘Regardless, it’s fine. I just need Tornium.’

“Um, Sir Zich.” Before Zich realized it, Snoc was next to Estellade and he said, “If you don’t want it, could I try pulling it out, sir?”

Snoc wanted to try pulling out the holy sword; he was an aspiring hero after all.

“Do whatever you want. You probably won’t be able to pull it out though.”

“Ah, as expected, does the sword choose its master?”

“There’s that too, but you have a magical beast like Nowem with you. From what I know, Estellade is picky about choosing its owner and will refuse people who have another link like a contract with a magical beast by default.”

“I see…”

Koooo

Both Snoc and Nowem sighed in disappointment.

“But you never know. Try pulling it out—I might be wrong.”

After pulling the sword out, Zich’s faith in Estellade started plunging to the bottom. ‘Does it have no standards at all that even someone like me can pull it out? Does Glen Zenard actually have a terrible personality?’

With Zich’s suggestion, Snoc gleefully grabbed onto Estellade’s handle.

“Huuu!” He took a deep breath and pulled with great force.

“…”

“…”

“…”

All three of them didn’t say anything. As his bulging muscles showed, Snoc was using a lot of strength in his arms, but Estellade didn’t even budge. Snoc scrunched up his face and exerted more force, but the result was the same. In the end, he let go of the sword. 

“…Tch, I don’t need a holy sword. I only need Nowem.”

Koo!

Nowem climbed on top of Snoc’s shoulder and tapped its feet. His mythical beast comforted him, and Snoc turned away from Estellade. His shoulders appeared small as he stepped down from the podium weakly.

“Are you going to try too, Hans?”

“No, I don’t think I will be able to pull it out.”

“Still, why don’t you give it a try?”

Hans’ curiosity rose in response to Zich’s suggestion, and he hesitantly walked towards Estellade. But when his hands were reaching for it, they heard footsteps nearby. All their eyes shot to where the noise came from, and Hans and Snoc quickly ran to Zich’s side.

“Someone is here.” Hans warily took out his sword.

“It seems so. I thought we definitely were the first ones to find this place.”

“Do you think it’s someone who came to get the holy sword, sir?”

“It could be someone who got lost.”

‘It couldn’t be Glen Zenard, right?’ Since Estellade’s past owner was Glen, Zich naturally thought of him. However, the footsteps that approached them were too light to belong to a sturdy, adult male like Glen. 

‘Since my senses are distorted, it really is uncomfortable.’

The only sense he could currently use was his sense of hearing. Behind the light footsteps, Zich heard other footsteps mixed in. These footsteps were even quieter and nimbler than the first one, but it wasn’t because the owners of these footsteps were lighter. 

‘They were professionally trained to hide their footsteps.’

They couldn’t possibly be tourists who lost their way and wandered all the way here. Zich gestured to Hans and Snoc, signaling them to raise their guards and prepare for battle. The two opened their eyes menacingly and waited for the owners of these footsteps to jump out.

Thump!

One person jumped out of the passage. A one-piece dress flapped; it wasn’t a fitting attire to wear inside a dark and stuffy ancient ruin. However, Zich recognized the clothes, the flowing silver hair, and the sparkling red eyes that shone through the darkness. It was Lyla. Zich was surprised to see her when he expected to see her in ten days. Lyla also seemed surprised to see him. However, the footsteps coming behind her didn’t stop. 

Zich looked behind Lyla and saw that a group of people was heading towards them. The people behind Lyla covered themselves with robes, and those suspicious-looking clothes reminded him of an organization he knew. Zich glanced at Lyla’s eyes again and then at the entrance. 

“Get down!” Zich shouted. Lyla fell to the ground as she rushed towards Zich and rolled on the ground. Zich swung his sword forward.

Piercing Space.

Air mixed with mana shot like drills and passed over Lyla to hit the robed figures. 

Pop!

Zich’s eyebrows twitched. He didn’t think his attack would be able to critically injure his opponents since his opponents seemed to be highly skilled. Moreover, he didn’t even know if his opponents were really his enemies. He simply saw that they were swinging their swords at Lyla and attacked them. 

Still, Zich thought his ‘Piercing Space’ attack was too easily nullified. His opponents had deflected Zich’s attack with a single punch. However, his attack had managed to slow them down, and in that instant, Lyla ran towards Zich’s side.

“Are they your new friends? They don’t seem too good. You should choose your friends more wisely.”

“They are not my friends.” While catching her breath, Lyla replied back firmly.

Zich tried to assess her condition first. The clothes that he bought her last time were ripped in many places. There were various scratches on her white skin. Her silver hair was also full of dust as if she had rolled on the ground several times.

“Your condition doesn’t seem too good. With your skills, it must have been difficult for them to drive you to a corner like this. Are those guys strong?”

“Yes, they are strong.”

“What about your teleportation magic? You also have an artifact.”

“…It doesn’t work here.”

The energy that disrupted Zich’s senses also seemed to block teleportation magic. The playfulness in Zich’s voice completely disappeared, and he became deathly serious. Hans and Snoc gulped their saliva as Zich’s tone dropped even further.

“What are their identities?”

“They are guys that are chasing after me.”

“Why?”

“…” Lyla didn’t reply.

“Wow, you’re really popular.” While murmuring that, Zich shifted his attention back to the passageway. Several robed figures came out of the passageway. Seeing that Lyla was standing still, they slowed down and began walking normally. There were four of them in total, and one of them stuck out to Zich.

‘That guy is the leader.’

With just his fist, he was able to nullify Zich’s attack. After the leader stared at Lyla, he moved his gaze towards Zich and his companions. 

“Why are there people here?”

The leader’s voice was so emotionless that it sounded extremely cold. Goosebumps appeared all over Hans and Snoc’s skin. 

“They’re not part of the plan, right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“It’s a variable.”

Zich’s eyes shone. He knew the group that was obsessed with the word ‘variable.’ They were the group of people whom Zich wanted to find and completely destroy.

“First, drink this.” Zich took out a potion and handed it to Lyla.

Lyla contemplated for a moment whether she should drink the potion or not, but the situation was dire, so she quickly gulped it down. During that time, the three underlings spread themselves out. Each of them positioned themselves into a corner of the room and surrounded Zich and his companions. In a matter of seconds, the four of them surrounded Zich, Snoc, Hans, and Lyla.

‘I guess they are confident in their abilities.’

A group formation was easier for people to combine their strengths and attack together. However, the robed figures were completely separated from each other. They probably knew the benefits of fighting in a group but were probably confident in their skills to handle Zich and his companions by themselves. But first, Zich tried to talk to them. There was a very slight possibility that he was misunderstanding their intentions.

“Hey! Why don’t we try talking to figure out what’s going on?”

But the reply that came back to him was very simple. “Kill them.”

From three different directions, the robed figures ran towards them.

‘They are fast!’

“They’re not weak at all! Move with caution!”

After warning Snoc and Hans, Zich stood in front of Lyla. The leader ran towards him.

Classh!

“Ugh!”

Zich’s whole body shook. The sword he infused mana with clashed sharply and a shock passed through his arms and all the way to his legs. For a moment, his head became numb. Zich immediately brought his mind back into control and tightly gripped his sword.

Clash! Clash!

Explosive sounds rang across the room. With just a few clashes, Zich felt his joints stiffen. 

“Ra! Untu. Bairo!”

From behind, he heard Lyla mutter spells out loud. Zich blocked another attack from the leader and blocked a strike from the side with his elbow.

Crunch!

His elbows stung, and blood spurted out of his arm. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to have cut through his bone.

“Welm, Bloom!”

Flash!

Lyla’s magic was complete.

Crashhhhh!

A sound of an explosion, incomparable to the ones from before, rang throughout the room. The air trembled like crazy and vibrated as if it was going to break everything in its path.

“Agh!”

Lyla’s magic attack was effective, and the robed figures stepped back. Seeing the subtle air surrounding his sides, Zich realized what magic Lyla used.

‘Double Sided Inversion.’

It was a type of magic that simultaneously attacked one’s enemies with air vibration and protected one’s supporters with a wind barrier. It was a type of combination magic that used two different types of magic at the same time.

‘She really knows how to do every kind of magic.’

“Are you okay?” Zich checked Hans and Snoc’s conditions.

“Yes sir, barely.”

“Owwww…”

Even though they didn’t look like they were seriously injured, their conditions didn’t look too good either.

“Sir Zich! It’s very hard to control the earth here!” Snoc released some bad news to the group.

“The innermost areas of ancient ruins usually have a special energy that protects themselves from outsiders. For that reason, earth magic that controls its surroundings is extremely difficult to bring out.”

“No way!”

Koo!

At Lyla’s explanation, Snoc and Nowem despaired at their cruel reality.

“Are you not able to use it at all?”

“There are some places on the ground where our power works a little bit.” Snoc barely managed to block his opponent’s attack by using those areas. However, his enemies’ attacks were way too strong for him to endure with such a disadvantage.

“Then wear armor.”

“Yes, sir!” Snoc was planning to do this anyway, so he quickly answered back. 

Zich stared at the leader. Even though the leader was keeping his distance because of Lyla’s magic attack, he still looked as if he was completely at ease. Zich wiped the sweat pouring down from his face with his shoulders. Then he tightly gripped his sword with the hand that still felt sore.

‘This bastard, he’s as strong as a Demon Person.’

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