Chapter 177

Zich took a step forward. Everyone’s eyes shot towards him, but Zich ignored their stares and took another step forward. Lyla looked at Zich’s back worriedly, but she didn’t hold him back. Since she had told him many times before, doing more than that would be meddling.

Stomp! Zich stopped his feet in front of Tornium. It looked exactly the same as his memories, especially its black blade, plain guard, handles that were far from glamorous. Memories of wielding it around and fighting against enemies burst into his head. Yet, Zich didn’t move his hand.

“Okay, let’s go look for suspicious spots now,” Zich said after he turned around. He didn’t seem infatuated with the sword, and Lyla felt relieved.

Zich left the room that contained Tornium. There was no hesitancy in his steps, and his companions followed him one by one. Even with the explanation that the Tornium was a magical sword that was on the same level as Estellade, nobody craned their interest towards it. Snoc was the last one to leave the room, and silence filled the room again.

*      *      *

“Then, where should I go to look for it first?” Zich placed his hands on his waist and looked around his surroundings in exaggeration. He saw the ruin’s passageway stretch far out in front of him. They didn’t know what they were looking for or where it was. They simply thought a secret passageway might appear before them like the last ruin. “Is this path wide?”

“Very,” Lyla answered Zich’s question. She knew her way in and out of this ruin; thus, her words meant that they had no choice but to continue walking around the ruin to search for what they were looking for.

‘Well, we have a lot of time, so we can carefully look around.’ They didn’t even have an urgent business to attend to. Even if they didn’t find anything, they planned to look around until Lyla was satisfied. Still, that didn’t mean they thought it was a good plan to wander around aimlessly.

‘I wish we had a hint or something.’ Zich suddenly thought of Windur and took it off from his back. The sword had its usual strange form. Zich could change it into a more comfortable form, but Windur was a ridiculous sword that refused to change without a special reason.

‘This guy led me to a path before.’ Specifically, it was the key that popped out of Zich’s fingers and was a piece of Windur that had guided him.

‘I don’t think this guy will be able to do anything.’ At the same time, it was the sword piece that had teleported Zich and guided them to where Windur was.

Therefore, Zich muttered something ridiculous, “Is there something that we can find here?”

“…What are you doing? Are you talking to a sword now?” Lyla seemed stunned, and other people also looked at Zich strangely.

Zich shrugged. “This is the place where we found Windur. From our experience, you know what it did and how special it is. So, I tried talking—” Zich trailed off. Including him, everyone’s eyes shot towards the ends of Windur’s blades.

Sliiide.

One especially heated part of Windur’s hard blade lengthened and curved.

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…What is this guy, really?” Zich broke the silence with his words. Although the sword looked strange, Zich liked it because of its excellent performance. However, he couldn’t grasp the sword’s identity at all.

*    *    *

With Zich in the lead, the group continued to walk. Whenever they reached a forked path, Windur wiggled its ends.

“…What's with that sword?” Leona asked Snoc, but he couldn’t answer her clearly either.

Snoc answered, “I-I am not sure either.”

It was a uniquely shaped sword. Snoc didn’t know anything about it except for the fact that Zich suddenly brought it out of the ruin and that Zich treasured it because it had a higher performance than even Estellade.

‘’Oh yeah, it can change shape too.’

However, there was no way Snoc could identify the sword when Zich didn’t even know as its owner.

“I think many strange and interesting things are connected to Zich.” At Leona’s words, Snoc and even Hans in front of them nodded. Hans, who had accompanied Zich ever since he got out of his family, especially agreed with Leona.

Thump. Zich’s feet halted, and people stopped their steps simultaneously. Windur’s blades were curved to the side. However, the area where Windur pointed was not a passageway but the ruin’s wall. The same thought came into everyone’s heads at once.

‘A secret passageway!’ Zich searched around the wall.

‘There’s an opening.’ It was a gap narrow enough for a finger to barely fit in. However, it was long enough for a whole arm to reach inside.

‘But how do we go through this?’ The door that led to the passageway opened automatically when they approached it. Yet the wall blocking their path didn’t seem like it would open for them. Zich tried knocking the wall. He heard a dull impact; it didn’t seem like it was hollow inside.

‘Is it camouflage or is this guy just out of its mind?’ Zich looked at Windur and tried shaking a bit.

‘Huh? The ends of Windur moved, but they didn’t point at another place. It continued to point at the same spot. When Zich lifted it up, its ends curved downwards and when Zich moved it down, it moved up. Zich looked to where the sword was pointing.

‘It’s the center of the opening. Is it pointing at something instead of a direction?” Zich tilted his sword horizontally to help Windur return to its original form. Then he stabbed his sword between the gap. As if it had always been shaped like that, Windur smoothly went inside the gap of the wall.

Click! There was the sound of something interlocking behind the wall. Zich turned back to his companions. After meeting each of their eyes, he looked back at the wall and turned his sword.

Screech! Screech! A part of the wall rotated in a circle; Zich kept turning his sword around.

Click!

After the sword turned a half-circle, there was another click. And then—

Slide! 

The bricks on the wall began moving back and slid to the side of the wall. A large hole appeared in front of Zich and his companions.

“I don’t know where it ends, but I think we’ve found the right place.” Zich glanced inside the tunnel.

“It seems like we’ve really found the right place?” Zich went inside; there was another passageway beyond the secret door. However, this passage was different from all the other passages in this ruin. First of all, it was big. Compared to all the passages they passed in this ruin, it was about four or five times bigger. The ceiling was also high and wide.

However, the most noticeable thing about this passage was the murals all over the ceiling and walls. Even to a non-specialist, the murals painted in vibrant colors looked to be of exceptional quality.

“It’s been very well preserved.” Lyla followed Zich into the room, and expressed her admiration at the murals in the passage. 

Hans, Snoc, and Leona bent their heads back to stare at the murals. Zich moved next to Lyla and also looked around the murals. “It’s because of the mana, right?”

“Yeah, probably. Ever since we came to this space, the mana I could feel suddenly increased.” Lyla put her hands on the wall. She could feel the mana moving around underneath it. “It seems like there’s mana surrounding this whole building; there’s a high possibility that this place has mana fuel like the last ruin. Moreover, the mana fuel is probably of higher quality or bigger or both than the other ruin.”

A shadow cast on Lyla’s face. If this ruin was created by the same civilization as the last ruin, there might also be a horrifying monster here. As if to console her, Zich tapped Lyla’s shoulders a few times. Then he followed the passage down. 

The murals continued all across the passage. There were a great many soldiers depicted in the mural; strong monsters and golems were also painted on the walls. The monsters, golems, and soldiers didn’t seem like they were fighting each other. In contrast, they looked like they were on the same side as they all stared at the end of the tunnel with menacing eyes. It was as if they were intimidating those walking down the passage.

Hans said, “I feel like I’m entering a palace with extremely tight security.”

“You’re probably right about that.”

“Sir, what?”

“I also think that these drawings depict security forces.”

With Zich’s agreement, Hans stared back at the mural.

“I don’t know much about art, but there’s probably no one who draws a list of meaningless soldiers as art, especially to cover entire walls and ceilings.”

Flying monsters were drawn on the ceiling, and soldiers riding on those monsters were also looking down at the end of the tunnel. 

“Even though it might just be the perverted work of an eccentric artist, there are people who need drawings like this. Powerful people who need these weird paintings rather than real troops.”

“People who are dead,” Lyla added her thoughts to Zich’s words. Hans was surprised by the meaning behind her words.

“What? Does that mean…”

“Yeah. There’s a high possibility that this ruin is a tomb. Moreover, to have a tomb of this size, the person must have great power.”

An enormous door appeared in front of them. Without much hesitation, Zich opened the door. The sight beyond the door came into view.

*   *   * 

“Hey Zenard, why are you moving in such a hurry?” Browning felt a bit bewildered. 

Acting like he was going to go back to their lodging, Glen fell into deep thought for a while and then spun around to go back to the ruin. Moreover, he was obviously walking back in a hurry.

There was a bit of hesitation in Browning’s voice since she received a cold reply from Glen for disturbing him earlier. However, Glen seemed to have settled his concerns as he was back to his usual self.

“It’s because I don’t think they are walking around the ruins to sight see. I’m going to bring them out.”

“Ah, you think so too?” Her expression brightened up. “Yeah, that’s right. No matter how great someone is, everyone has to follow the rules, especially if they are breaking the rules for something as frivolous as sightseeing.”

While Browning murmured to herself, Glen only paid half of his attention to her. All he cared about was securing Tornium before Zich and his companions could get to it. Even though he had planned to wander around the ruin to not stir Browning’s suspicion, he now had no leisure to do so. He moved straight to the secret passageway from his memory.

Slideee!

“Wow, there was a place like this!”

“Let’s try going in.”

“Ah, wait! Zenard!”

Browning followed behind Glen in a hurry. The passageway was familiar to Glen—even if there were intersections, there were no traps in this ruin. Glen beelined to the secret passage, and a room appeared in front of him. It was only when he saw the black sword in the center of the room that he finally let out a sigh of relief.

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