Chapter 181

They had successfully entered the aisle entrance, but they couldn’t relax. The statues were too big to go past the entranceway, but they could enter it through unexpected means or relentlessly smash through the walls.

Zich looked towards the hall of the entranceway and thought, ‘I don’t think we have to worry about the statues anymore.’ 

The statues, which chased Zich and his companions like they would follow them to the ends of Hell, halted as soon as the group entered the aisle and turned around to return to their original spots. It seemed like Zich and his companions could catch their breaths now. Of course, they couldn’t just rest easy because unlike the statues, the shadows were even inside the aisle; and the ones outside were squeezing themselves into the aisle’s entryway.

‘They will be more bothersome here.’ The shadows packed the aisle from corner to corner. It wasn’t just the floor. With no regard for the surface they were on, the shadows stuck to the walls and ceiling and attacked the group.

Slice! Zich sliced one of the shadows flying in the air. It burst in mid-air, but another shadow instantly replaced its spot. These shadows fell from the ceiling, jumped from the ground, and even attacked them in the air. 

‘Well, still…’ Zich swung his sword once again. The three shadows that rushed towards him were cut instantly. ‘They are easy enough.’

The statues had been formidable opponents, not these guys who only relied on their numbers, and it wasn’t like they had to finish all of them. They just had to escape from this place.

“Be careful!” Lyla shouted and lifted her staff. A chilling shock flashed from it.

Rummmmble!

A flash of light swept through the passageway. Since they were in a narrow area, the sound of thunder hurt their eardrums. Everyone scowled. Although they knew that Lyla was preparing a lightning attack and protected their ears with mana, they couldn’t cancel out all the noise. That was especially true for an elf like Leona who had great hearing.

However, the effect was astounding. All the shadows in front were swept away. These creatures had weak defenses in the first place, and since they didn’t have a clear location to escape to and were all clumped together, they disappeared powerlessly under Lyla’s lightning.

Zich acknowledged the annihilating force of magic. ‘If all conditions are met, there really is no better way than to sweep away all your opponents with magic.’

His companions moved in a hurry. Although they had managed to destroy all the shadows in front of them, new shadows began to pop up from the ground. They had to advance forward as much as possible when they could. Zich took the lead and sliced the shadows. Now that the greatest danger, which had been the statues, was gone, he could focus all his strength on fighting the shadows. Soon, they arrived at the door. 

However, the door was firmly closed.

‘It doesn’t just open.’ How nice would it have been if the door opened automatically when they were leaving? Zich lamented how the builders of this door from the past had no sense.

‘Is this the place?’

Like how it was outside, there was an opening inside the door. Zich left the defense to his companions and plucked out Windur. 

Grrrr!

Just like when they came in, the surrounding walls turned in a circular motion. After it turned half a circle, the surrounding walls were pushed back until they disappeared. The group ran outside. 

However, the battle didn’t end. 

‘Our worries became reality.’ Zich clicked his tongue at the shadows that were also swarming outside. 

‘Are these guys also swarming around the city?’ If that was the case, Violuwin was truly an unlucky city, but he wasn’t sure yet.

‘I will have to go out to know for sure,’ Zich thought and continued to lead his companions outside and advanced forward.

“Zich!”

“I heard you.”

Zich nodded toward Lyla and stared at the passageway in the front.

At the forked passageway in front of them, they heard the sound of another battle taking place.

‘Who is it?’ The ruin was still distorting Zich’s senses, so it was hard to sense the presence in front of him. 

It looked like he wouldn’t know who it was until he saw the figures with his own eyes. As the sound of battle drew closer, it seemed like they were moments away from meeting the mysterious fighters.

“Huh?”

“What?”

The two groups met exactly at the forked passageway. When they saw each other, Zich and his companions and Glen and his partner looked at each other with wide eyes. 

‘Like I thought, it really was them.’ Zich thought it might be Glen and his companions since they had already met inside the ruin before. If Zich thought about it again, the possibility had been considerably high.

‘He found Tornium.’ Zich stared at the sword Glen was holding. It was such a familiar sword to him—it was the weapon he had treasured.

‘Is he using it in place of Estellade?’ It was astonishing how Glen Zenard, the Sun Hero, was holding a demonic sword instead of a holy sword. In Zich’s perspective, it looked unnatural.

‘Ah, did Hans also steal his title of Sun Hero?’

Of course, a nickname that only a city like Violuwin called Hans wasn’t the same as an internationally recognized title that Glen once had. However, since Estellade was a big factor in why Glen had his title as Sun Hero, it looked like Glen might really lose his hero title at this rate.

“We met at a fun time,” Zich said to Glen as he sliced a shadow.

“Do you think so? It’s not very pleasant for me though!” Glen replied as he also sliced a shadow. 

However, Zich responded to Glen’s sharp retort carefreely. “Well, it’s common for people to have different thoughts about the same situation.” 

The two groups came closer to each other.

“It seems like you all are trying to escape out of here too. Let’s cooperate,” Zich said. He didn’t hesitate to offer his hand to Glen.

‘I already collaborated with Lubella and I’m going around with Leona, so this isn’t even a big deal for me now.’ Since Zich got used to working with members of the Hero Party, he didn’t even feel any resistance working together with Glen now.

“…Fine. But I want to hear about your situation later on.”

“My situation…I don’t know what you want to hear, but let’s talk after we get out of here first.”

Even though Zich could roughly guess what Glen was curious about, he quickly passed over this matter. Zich hadn’t done anything wrong for Glen to get involved, and if there was, he could just feign ignorance. 

Like this, Zich’s group and Glen’s group joined forces. The two groups were already strong enough by themselves, but after combining forces, their movements became even sharper and faster. Even though they had never worked together before, their strengths more than made up for it. Zich and Glen led the team while Browning supported them from behind. Hans protected Lyla and Leona while he fought from his position since they were weaker at close combat. Lyla and Leona’s magic and arrow attacks eased the overall pressure of the enemy’s attacks, and Snoc was in charge of the rear. 

Zich sliced two shadows and stole a glance at Glen.

‘He’s good at fighting but…’

It was Zich’s first time seeing Glen fight since he regressed. Glen was definitely skilled right now, but considering Glen’s skills in the past, he was much weaker than he used to be. Zich tilted his head in wonder.

‘Well, there are cases where people’s skills explode at once.’

From the first place, Zich’s case was like this.

‘Is it okay for him to use Tornium in his current state though?’

Tornium gently lent its strength to those who met its criteria, but it was ruthless to anyone below its standards. Glen’s strength right now seemed a bit subpar for Tornium’s criteria.

‘But it doesn’t seem like he has any side effects.’

However, Zich’s thoughts did not go past this range.

‘Well, I’ll just ask him when we get out.”

It didn’t matter if he didn’t hear an answer from Glen; Tornium was no longer related to him. Moreover, there was an existence that was now more interesting than Glen or Tornium.

‘Lara Browning.’ Zich was taken aback by her skillful movements as she wielded her sword and shield with her bright red hair flying around. ‘Was she this strong?’

If Zich only considered pure skill and didn’t include himself and Lyla, Browning was probably the strongest on the whole team. Moreover, her smooth and precise swordsmanship was very noticeable.

‘How come someone like that carries a stupidly big shield around?’

Zich didn’t mean to look down on shields, but Browning was obviously gifted in swordsmanship. She was also good at using her shield, but it was only to the extent where she used it as a support tool.

‘It would have been more troublesome for me if she held up a sword instead of a shield in our last battle.’

Zich quickly thought of a counter reason.  

‘Then is the party’s balance broken?’

Glen was able to defeat Zich with a party of heroes. Even though each of the members in his party was strong, they were able to create a maximum synergic effect as everyone performed each of their positions perfectly. Considering this, if Lara Browning’s shield disappeared, it would have caused a huge dent in the party’s overall power.

‘But that’s only in theory.’ 

She must have her own reasons for giving up the sword, but it was also true that choosing a shield as her main weapon lowered her overall skill level. However, Zich didn’t ponder too long about this matter either.

‘It’s her problem.’ He was just interested in her skill for a brief moment. Zich shifted his focus on killing the shadows. He was not the only person observing the people around him. Glen also stole furtive glances at Zich and observed Zich’s movements. Zich was carrying a super bizarre looking sword that looked like a tree branch and not like a real weapon. Yet the speed and strength in which he used it to defeat the shadows was shocking. It was to the extent where Glen couldn’t even dare thinking about fighting against Zich right now.

‘As I expected, his skills increased!’ Even though the Zich he knew rapidly exploded in strength, Zich wasn’t supposed to be this strong around this time. ‘And it’s much more than I expected.’

Moreover, even if Glen successfully developed his strength in the future, it seemed as if it would be difficult to fight against a stronger Zich.

‘Damn it!’ Glen’s sword movements became rough. Even though he was still killing shadows with great speed, his center of gravity was off and his movements became wider. Naturally, a gap appeared in his stance. 

“Ugh!”

A shadow that evaded his attack changed its arm into a sickle and put the sickle against his neck. It was now too late to block the attack with his sword. If Glen made a mistake here, he would instantly die, so Glen quickly leaned back. He was able to successfully avoid getting his neck pierced by the sickle, but now his shoulder joint was exposed. If he received a direct hit, his bone would probably get cut off or he’d receive a very serious injury at least, but this was at least better than dying.

Slice! A flash of light split the shadow attacking Glen. The shadow burst into thin air, and Glen was saved from receiving a serious injury.

“Glen! Are you alright?”

Browning yelped as she saw that Glen was in danger, but Glen was no longer able to hear her voice or scream. He stared at Zich who continued to slice more shadows. Zich also stared back at him.

“Stay focused.” With this one sentence, Zich turned his head back again. 

‘…Fuck!’ Glen began wielding Tornium again. The shadows that were coming towards him exploded. Glen seemed to have regained his focus, as his movements went back to his usual form. However, the fury in his sword movements had inflated to a much larger size than before.

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