The flippant laughter still remained fresh in his memory. Sungchul focused his hearing to the sound ringing out from deeper in the jungle. The sound of another golem activating could be heard from a faraway place. He immediately ran over to that place to discover another golem massacring Carbuncles.
“Just why are they doing this…?”
Bertelgia muttered to herself as she looked over the Carbuncle corpses.
“It looks as though there is a relation between Multicasting and Carbuncles.”
Sajators’ childish plans were clear. He had intended to destroy all evidence so that he wouldn’t have to hand over Multicasting. Ironically, this might have presented an opportunity for Sungchul as if he happened to meet Sajators in this place, he would be able to end it here.
After Sungchul got rid of two more golems, he headed toward the boat Kruut was waiting in.
“W-where did you come from? I heard some massive sounds.”
“… The situation is worse than I thought, but if we do as I say, you’ll be able to get back to Panchuria safely.”
Sungchul rowed the oars to move forward. The spire poking out between the trees drew closer, and soon the signs of a ruin appeared past the flowing waters. It was a ruined marina made of stacked stone and etched with the trace of an eternal passage of time. The rope to tie off the boat had already rotted away, but the post to tie the rope remained. Sungchul pulled out his rope and securely fastened the boat before he stepped onto the wharf and looking at his surroundings.
The area around the wharf was different from the other areas in that it was plunged into a deathly silence.
“It might be good to just wait here.”
Sungchul picked up the whistle left on the boat; It was the whistle used by the rapist to call his buddies. He then handed it to Clarise.
“If something happens, use this.”
These were people that Sungchul had brought out of necessity. Sungchul did not make a habit of discarding people under his protection. If he did, he’d be no different than the elite few that he detested so much. However, there was an exception.
“I would suggest that you don’t do anything unnecessary.”
Sungchul glared at Kruut so as to emphasize this point. Kruut opened his eyes wide and gave a nod.
Sungchul left the old man and his granddaughter behind and headed forward. He used the towering spire as a landmark to navigate through the thick foliage when he discovered something so spectacular that it made him doubt his eyes. There was a well preserved stepped pyramid sitting in the middle of the jungle. Not a single vine or blade of grass was able to penetrate inside of this relic. It was practically impossible for something to be maintained this perfectly within the great jungle that was bursting and squirming with life.
“Looks like this is the place.”
The destination marked on the map made of goblin leather was simply denoted with an X, but it was difficult to imagine that it could denote any other location other than this.
Sungchul activated the Eye of Truth and scanned the surroundings. There were no magical techniques being employed here in particular, but the question of how this relic was maintained to such a pristine state became even more glaring. Fortunately, that question was soon answered.
There was a single golem moving in the distance. This golem was different than the other combat golems he had faced thus far as it was human-sized with shorter legs, torso, and arms giving off an almost cute image. It used its short arms to diligently check and clean between the relic for sprouting grass, branches that grew too close, or fallen leaves and such. In other words, this golem was the groundskeeper of this relic.
The golem didn’t show any response to Sungchul even as he approached. Rather, he grabbed the weed that had been growing underneath Sungchul’s foot, uprooted it with his short and stubby hand and threw it away before hurrying off.
“That looks to be made by Papa as well. Papa was the only one that could make such a miniature golem.”
“Your father, just what kind of person was he? Wasn’t he an alchemist?”
“Yep, correct. An alchemist. He only made alchemic items to sell when I was very young, but when that day approached, he mostly made golems instead. The merfolk from the sea were threatening the world, you see.”
“Merfolk? Were they part of the Calamity?”
Bertelgia nodded at Sungchul’s question, but there were no records in the Scripture of Calamity about any Calamity relating to the merfolk living at the ocean floor.
‘After wrapping up the situation here, I’ll have to head directly to the Tower of Seclusion.’
Sungchul put the small golem behind him as he walked toward the pyramid’s entrance. The pyramid inside was shrouded in a thick darkness and silence that suited it.
The sound of his footstep bounced off the walls to echo long into the distance. The corridor seemed to extend quite far ahead. Sungchul lit up the torch he pulled out from his Soul Storage and headed inside. The moment he stepped foot into the darkness, bright letters appeared in front of his eyes.
[You’ve cleverly managed to find this place. I welcome you in the name of Sajators.]
As the words faded away, the corridor that was shrouded in darkness began to reveal itself from a distance. The lanterns on the upper half of the corridor lit up all at once.
After the lanterns were lit, a mural on the wall of the corridor that appeared to be drawn in the distant past could be seen. It was difficult to tell what its original form was as much time had passed and the dye it was drawn with had long since degraded.
Sungchul slowly walked alongside and gazed at the drawing. It depicted humans and beasts being chased by the demons and humans that appeared like fish. The faces of the humans were generally filled with fear while the Devils and the Merfolk were indifferent overall. Above the mural were ancient words that were difficult to decipher as they were peeling away from here and there. Sungchul tried to read what he could.
‘Coming… They… hard… to stop… help!… help!’
The rough translation of the text seemed to depict the terror of the Calamity.
Sungchul walked a bit closer, and another text appeared in his sight.
[By the time you’re looking at these words, we’ll either be dead or have become heroes that have saved the world.]
[However, we might also be something that doesn’t fall into either category as humans are ungrateful beings. Captain still maintains faith within the humans, but Vestiare and Ga Xi Ong do not share the same sentiment.]
[I am on the fence for now, but… how will it all turn out?]
Sungchul could roughly determine when this relic was first created after reading this text. After leaving his mark within the Summoning Palace, Sajators must have come to this place. It was before the final battle with the world at stake; before the Seven Heroes fell into Calamity.
Sungchul continued to walk forward. The mural’s condition was better preserved as he walked further, and he soon discovered an interesting image. The race with the wings and beaks of birds. The Avians. The ancient text had something recorded about them. Sungchul translated that bit with his poor deciphering ability.
‘Sky… danger… ancient god… subservient… dripping… king… help!’
Sungchul felt strange about reading this portion. Devil. Merfolk. Avian. The three calamities had appeared within the era of the Seven Heroes. However, the content of the Calamity then was different than the advent of the current Calamity. The Calamity within Sungchul’s era was as follows: Devil, Seven Heroes, War.
Leaving the seven heroes aside, the other two Calamities that had appeared within their era was not within his own.
‘Can the content of the Calamity change?’
It was a possibility that he hadn’t considered… no, he couldn’t even imagine until now as the Calamity worked according to the will of god as it was reflected on the Scripture of Calamity. It was not something that could be decided by human will, and those who were at the receiving end of it had to receive it at face value.
Sungchul proposed a question to Bertelgia.
“What were the contents of the Calamity within your time?”
It was the first time he had asked the question.
“The only thing I remember was the last one which was the Calamity of the Merfolk. After that, I fell into a deep sleep due to some circumstances. My body wasn’t in the best condition.”
Bertelgia’s voice had a bit of resentment mixed with it as she answered.
Sungchul continued to walk forward and a wide hall occupied by stone tables appeared. There were scrolls made of papyrus on top of the tables, but they scattered into dust as soon as they were touched.
‘I can’t use this.’
Sungchul continued forward, and when he did, another text blocked his sight.
[Multicasting was my own secret technique that I happened to develop through a fortunate opportunity.]
[There are countless Carbuncles living within the jungle of the Screaming Knife’s Edge mountain range. Carbuncles are common enough within the entirety of the continent, but here in the jungle you can meet quite an intelligent one that can’t be seen anywhere else.]
Sajators’ message here was definitely intended for someone who would find it in the future. There were no hostile traps nor the test that were so frequent. It might have been because all the tests required for the Multicasting was already performed in the Summoning Palace.
The path branched off as he passed by the hall.
[There is nothing to lose whether you go left or right as you’ll be able to find a message left behind by an amusing friend.]
Sungchul turned left. His pace was visibly faster than before.
Another hall appeared. In the middle of this hall, there stood a massive slab of stone with an image of a single animal drawn by the artist with great care. It was a Carbuncle, but it looked different from the regular ones. Its fur had a white tint and its gemstone in its forehead had a blue light like the blue gemstone.
[The one before you is the one that holds the secret to Multicasting.]
[The bugger’s name is King Carbuncle and don’t mock the name as I have thought it up myself. The most important part of this is that the beast can read the thoughts of every living being its body touches.]
[Think on it well. What it means to make a familiar out of a being that can read your mind and cast magic.]
The text continued.
[The blue gemstone ring earned from the Summoning Palace has the power to draw all Carbuncles.]
[When the sun rises, stand on top of the pyramid’s spire and shine the light of the ring with the blue gemstone.]
[All the Carbuncles within the forest will gather once you do.]
There was a jewel that shined like a crystal beneath the picture. Bertelgia who noticed it opened her mouth to speak.
“That looks like the Golem Core made by papa?”
Sungchul held the jewel in his hand. It didn’t seem to hold any particular magical properties. Instead, another set of words appeared.
[Taming the King Carbuncle is the ideal method, but a capable necromancer should be able to extract its soul and seal it within the soul stone below to use the beast like a tool.]
[But remember this; if you take a Soul stone without winning over the King Carbuncle’s heart, then it could become as useless as those pebbles found lying around outside.]
Sungchul inspected the jewel in his hand. It appeared plain, but it held an unusual power.
‘A soul stone.’
It was a technique that did not survive to the present day. The technique of extracting and imbuing the soul was that of a Devil’s. Not only was it strictly forbidden in the present day mortal world, but it was also a technique long extinct that could not be passed down anymore. In any case, there was no more text. It looked like Sajators’ message had come to an end.
‘Sajators. I suppose you weren’t a complete bastard during this time.’
Even though was full of mischief, he was still relaying his own ancient technique in a concise and friendly manner for those who would come after him. Those who have climbed to a certain level tended to speak vaguely about some breakthroughs and talk about pedantic sophistry, but Sajators’ attitude was much more friendly and accommodating in comparison.
Once Sungchul left the room, he returned to the fork in the path. Sungchul headed to the right path this time. He passed by several murals until a small room appeared in the dark. Compared to Sajators’ room with the mural, it was a small room more comparable to a closet. Something stood in the center of the room; oppressively taking up the small space.
Sungchul’s torch illuminated it. It looked like something similar to a golem.
“Hm? I think I saw this before somewhere.”
Bertelgia piped up. When Sungchul approached the golem, text readily appeared before his eyes as though this situation was expected.
[How do you feel? What emotions does this Final Combat Unit to End the Calamity created by the Great Genius, Eighth Hero wrought within you?]
Curiosity flashed within Sungchul’s eyes.
‘It was Eckheart. The man he referred to as an interesting friend.’
The text continued.
[This Final Combat Unit to End the Calamity’s form was created in haste, so don’t judge it too harshly on appearances. My ambition is to create Bertegia Unit 1, the largest single golem ever created; a final combat unit designed to stop the Calamities.]
[This colossus will be able to repel all Calamities that threatens us…]
As the message was being dictated, the pyramid began to greatly shake.
It seemed as though some great impact was being caused onto the exterior.
‘Is it a quake? No, this is…’
Sungchul began to glare.
At the same time, the sound of a whistle was sharply echoing throughout the jungle. Clarise’s terror-filled eyes were locked on the sky above the pyramid. A man with a small frame surrounded by some magical formation was floating about the area above the pyramid like a god of death.
“Hahahaha! Are you some fucking vagrant? You’ve come all this way because I put out some crumbs? This will be your grave!”
Sajators of the Seven Heroes. The Multicast Magician had made his appearance in the jungle.