Despite the rage that the Tree Mother had shown regarding the massive battle between the hero of old against the hero of the current age, she still displayed great generosity toward beautiful music. The sound of Clarise’s beautiful music was making the thickly overgrown roots to retreat on their own, creating a path for them through the muddy river.
“Now that I think on it, I don’t think the path is that dangerous.”
Kruut who had been on edge with all of the Alchemic bombs in his hands let out a sigh of relief before collapsing on the side of the boat. The roots laid out by the Tree Mother became a bit of a hindrance toward their progress, but it also was a reliable shield to protect them from their surroundings. At the very least, the path of the tree roots prevented encounters with dangerous predators or hostile Lizardmen.
Clarice carefully calmed her breathing and began to sing her next verse. It was at this moment that something fell out from between the automatically parting roots and fell into the water with a splash. She felt uneasy as she watched the surface upon which droplets of water floated on. Nothing emerged and the boat glided across the bubbling surface, and Clarise took her eyes away from the bubbles as she sang toward the roots blocking their path with all of her might. Suddenly, the stern of the ship began to tremble.
Kruut let out a scream as he crawled on his back. His hands, now dyed in bright red blood, were holding onto the sides of the boat.
He added all the strength he could muster to pull out a single man from the water. A man in terrible shape, with an entire side of his face ripped up beyond recognition, collapsed into the ship. Clarice and Kruut knew full well the identity of this man.
“Shut your mouth… and continue forward… I won’t harm you if you do as I say…”
The Multicasting Mage, Sajators, of the Seven Heroes began to hum softly while looking up toward the sky with a blank expression on his face. The area near his heart had a short spear with a dark green hue spreading bleak and bone-chilling darkness.
Sajators who had been urging them heard the sound of a bell ringing in his ears. It rang the melody of doom that could only be heard from deep within the endless abyss.
He had been chosen to be a hero that would save the world before he was born. The greatest magicians fought amongst themselves to become his mentor, and ancient and frail sages were eager to hand over their Soul Inheritance. Young Sajators who was born in worship and expectations grew up to be a true hero that would face off against the Calamity.
When he finally became a Transcendent, an expedition was formed in order to overcome the Calamity of the Demon Realm. It was a group of extraordinary people hailing from various parts of the continent who have been raised into excellence or achieved excellence through their own strength.
But out of the many several hundred people that were on this grueling expedition, only 8 survived. The group had received a heavy blow that had almost wiped them out completely, but Sajators himself was never in any real danger. He had been outstanding from birth and had everything. No enemy nor danger was able to force Sajators into desperation. Even during his defeat to the head of the Seven Heroes, Desfort, he had lost by a narrow margin which was enough for him to feel excited, but he had never felt anything close to despair. The world was never a dangerous place for Sajators who had been blessed by both god and man alike. Even to the moment he had chosen the path of Calamity of his own will.
How could he know that there was someone that could break the Multicast Mage, the killer of the Priest of the Abyss – the Sage of Absolom, and reduce him into such a pitiful state? It was the first perfect loss… no, despair that he had tasted within the thousands of years that he had lived.
‘Can… can I fight him again?’
He could hear the sound of the bell deep within his consciousness. He tried to inflame his dwindling fighting spirit using vengeance as fuel, but the sound of the bell that rang so clearly in his mind forced him to vividly recall what he had just experienced at the rough hands of Sungchul.
Sajators’ breathing briefly stopped and his pupils grew wide. His entire body that had been thoroughly injured began to shiver.
He knew by instinct. The terrible reality that he would likely never be able to challenge Sungchul ever again. The fear of Sungchul was now ingrained into his bone, no, to his genes itself.
Clarise and Kurut watched the young Mage nervously, who was staring off into space while shivering by himself.
“What should we do, gramps?”
Anyone could see that the state of this magician was extremely fragile; both in his body and mind. It might have been possible to end his life with a simple swing of the axe toward the back of his neck.
“Gramps. He doesn’t look too good. Should we just axe him?”
Clarise whispered while looking at Sajators out of the corner of her eyes.
“No! That bastard’s Sajators!”
Kruut spoke with fear.
“Sajators? What’s that? A snack?”
“That bastard’s one of the Seven Heroes. Not sure if he’s the real deal or not, but…”
He didn’t enter the Endless Library of La Grange for a week for the sake of his expedition for nothing. He knew roughly what kind of a figure Sajators was.
“Regardless of how wounded he looks, it might be better to just do what the man says.”
Kruut had his own thoughts on the matter. Sajators looked to be in such a critical condition that it wouldn’t be surprising for him to die at any moment now. He was bleeding out even now. Sajators would either die or lose consciousness on his own with no danger to them if enough time passed.
“Let’s just wait it out a bit. Time is on our side.”
Kruut’s words soon became fact. Sajators, who was watching the pair with predatory eyes, began to blink lazily before his figure began to waver. Anyone could see that he was losing consciousness real time. As the boat carrying Kruut’s party was approaching the wide opening in the river with Panchuria in sight, Sajators, with his head down, made no movement.
“Do you think he’s dead?”
Clarise’s hand that gripped her axe was instilled with a strength that she never knew she had as she glared at Sajators with burning eyes. It was too early to say that he had perished without a shadow of a doubt.
She conjured up some courage and slowly approached Sajators. Kruut stopped breathing and simply watched his granddaughter’s back getting ready to use the one alchemic bomb he hand in his hands.
Sajators made no response. She couldn’t even feel his breathing, so Clarise swallowed deeply and raised her axe high into the air. She was actually quite proficient with axes. She had received special education during her youth which allowed her physical stats to be outstanding, not to mention her time in the slaughterhouse after her family fell on hard times. Once she even managed to split the head of the Great Jungle Alligator, who had skin as hard as stone, in one blow.
She recalled those experiences and swung her axe with all her might.
An arrowhead flew past her hair.
“There! It’s them!”
Four boats appeared from within the reed forest. They seemed to be bandits or thieves judging by their appearances.
“That bitch has George ‘Reformed’ Hunt’s axe!”
One of the bandits shouted while pointing his finger toward Clarise.
The golem that had been following boat discovered the enemies and began to move quickly. The bandits were shocked by the sudden appearance of this golem, and hurriedly rowed backwards in an attempt to retreat, but only ended up getting caught with their backs exposed.
The saw a blade attached to one of the remaining arm of the golem began to spin precipitously. Unfortunately, its arm broke off on its own suddenly as it was about to split the bandits’ boat in two.
The reason was simple. Sungchul’s power was too strong. The golem had one arm remaining only in appearances, but in reality, it had sustained enough damage to only keep it attached. Its power core displayed red lights. This wasn’t revealed when it was slowly following the boat, but its sudden actions during battle revealed all of its frailties all at once.
The armless golem became unable to do anything before losing its life and sinking to the river floor.
“What… was that?”
The panicked bandits regained their courage. They turned their boats around, but there was not much of a resistance. Kruut’s group resisted with all of their might, but the bandits were experienced. Kruut had many items given by Sungchul, but the bandits ambushed them from below the water overpowering them before Kruut could utilize a single item. Clarise put up quite a resistance with her axe, but she was outnumbered from the start. After a final struggle, the boat was taken.
Kruut squeezed out pained screams while being pinned under the boot of the bandits, and Clarise who put up quite the fight was bound tightly with a rope. Sajators who had lost consciousness before the fight was forgotten in a corner of the boat.
“What should we do with them?”
An emaciated bandit asked the rough looking man who appeared to be their leader.
“These bastards are the enemies of my good friend George ‘Reformed’ Hunt. We can’t let them live.”
His rough face looked over at Clarise, Kruut, then Sajators respectively.
“Sell the girl to a Human Empire brothel, kill the others, then dump their bodies into the river.”
At that moment, one of the subordinates sounded with glee.
“Boss! There’s something amazing here! It’s all gold coins!”
The box covered with leather at the head of the boat turned out to be filled to the brim with shiny gold coins.
“Aren’t these the Merchant Coalition gold coins? I’m in luck.”
The bandit boss revealed his missing teeth as he smiled widely. The eyes of his underlings were filled with greed.
“So about that, boss. Can we just play with the girl a little bit?”
“She was pretty strong from what I saw earlier. Can you even handle her?”
“Call over the Slave Hunter and break her first. If we kill her family or acquaintance in front of her before, then it should be several times more effective.”
The bandits made cruel smiles at their boss’ words as they approached Kruut.
“This is all for the sake of my buddy, George ‘Reformed’ Hunt.”
One of the bandits raised his sword into the air.
Clarise who was tied to the mast let out a sharp scream. It was the most joyous of sounds to the bandits’ ears, but something out of their expectations occurred. The man in a magician’s garb who they assumed was dead began to move.
Bloodied and his body covered with wounds, the man whose face had turned white as a sheet from fright let out a heavy pant from his lips.
The bandits who had been surprised at the man’s sudden appearance began to laugh, disregarding him after the initial shock, but in the next moment, the young man extended his hand out toward the bandits. Their leader, a sharp-eyed bandit, could see that small magic formations were forming on the gems with a milky light strung up beneath the man’s cloak.
At that moment one of the bandits tilted his head in confusion and an immeasurable force exploded out from Sajators’ entire body like a fan.
Scwick – Boom!
The bandits met their miserable deaths before they even realized what had occurred to them. Not a single one of them was spared.
“Ugh… that damned bell…”
Sajators’ eyes lost its strength after having performed a feat of magic causing him to immediately collapse.
Kruut immediately freed Clarise, and she unconsciously approached Sajators. She could still distinctly remember him trying to kill them, but it was undeniable that this incomprehensible young man had saved their lives. Complex emotions that couldn’t really be explained passed by her heart.
After some turbulent waters, she knelt by his side and looked over his condition.
“Are… you alright?”
“W…water. I need water.”
Sajators turned over his body and began to cough. Dark blood was mixed in with his coughing fit.
Clarise popped open the waterskin she carried with her and brought it to his lips.
Kruut stood in front of Sajators and shook his head, but Clarise didn’t budge. Sajators drank all of her water and closed his eyes. He lowered his head down and spoke longingly as though he was dreaming.
“Eckheart… why did you not join us?”
Sajators lost consciousness with those words. Kruut grabbed the axe and came to their side. Clarise’s deep blue eyes stared blankly at the glinting blade of the axe.
Some pictures of the book- https://imgur.com/a/2zB8Z
To get the ebook/paperback- http://geni.us/xswCEhx