Sungchul and Bertelgia continued to observe the small golem. It continued down the ruin’s stony path and swept up the smaller rubbage that had fallen on it. The golem appeared to be stronger than its small frame seemed to indicate as it lifted the sizeable boulders with ease, and it used magic to move the ones that were cumbersome. It continued to work without rest for 50 minutes straight before leaving the ruins to head to another place. Sungchul and Bertelgia followed behind.
The golem arrived at a secret garden hidden within the jungle. Flowers of various colors were blooming beautifully around a crystal clear spring of water, and there were butterflies of matching vibrance fluttering about. It then stood still at a corner and gazed upon the garden for a while.
“Woah… this place is really beautiful, isn’t it?”
Bertelgia fluttered about with the butterflies in the garden as though her mood had improved greatly. Sungchul’s mood wasn’t so bad either.
‘It’s a decent place. It might not be so bad to show this to…”
A butterfly with pale violet wings gracefully landed on Sungchul’s clothes and took rest upon it. Sungchul calmed himself by watching the folding and unfolding of the unknown butterfly’s lethargic wings from the corner of his eyes.
Clouds quickly drifted past the dense foliage. Rain seemed imminent. It was at this moment that the small golem awoke from his rest, and Sungchul and his companion wrapped up their break to follow it.
The golem resumed its work. It endlessly repeated the simple but arduous task of cleaning up the fallen refuse. Suspicion crept up in Sungchul’s mind.
‘That guy looks like a golem with sentience.’
Thankfully, Bertelgia was beside him. Sungchul immediately asked the question on his mind.
“Bertelgia, that golem over there. What do you think of it?”
“Hm. First off, I’m positive that it has sentience. It’s using the Soul Gem that has been used to store that Carbuncle Soul as both its core and brain, but its actions are definitely strange. It’s acting like a mindless golem despite the fact that it has sentience, you know?”
“Why do you think that is?”
“Not sure. Isn’t it because of the quality of the Entity?”
“A clever Carbuncle would surpass the average person, but for a beast to be that diligent? I’m not so sure. Maybe an ant’s soul was mixed in? No… that’s not possible.”
“Mm… Is that so.”
The most important objective at the moment was to befriend the golem. According to Sajators’ description, the key to unlocking Multicasting was to form a deep bond with the Carbuncle that would become the second muzzle of magic.
‘In any case, why couldn’t this golem go into Sajators’ cape instead of being stuck doing this job?’
Sungchul recalled to his mind the description laid out by Sajators within the ruins. He soon nodded as he recalled a certain phrase.
[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 rolling around outside.]
The one rolling about uselessly outside that Sajators was referring to had to be the small golem without a doubt. If this phrase was true, this golem had to have been protecting these ruins alone, from the previous age’s Calamity until now for thousands of years. Sungchul suddenly felt a deep sympathy for the small and dull golem.
‘Does that mean he protected the ruins in this place by himself for all of these thousands of years? What a lonely and pitiful fate it is.’
Whatever had been placed within the Soul Stone could not have gone of its own volition. Its soul had been extracted forcibly and imprisoned in the Soul Stone, and was relegated to hard labor when it was deemed useless. But why?
Sungchul decided to spend a bit more time on the golem’s actions. It patrolled the ruins and continued its task in removing the fallen rubbish. The meaningless task with no end. However, the golem was met with a significant hardship during its task. It was faced with a massive refuse that could not be moved with neither its arms nor its magic.
It was the first time sound was emitted from the small golem. It was the unique “Woong” noise of the golems, but it had a cute aspect to it.
“Look at it, the poor thing.”
Bertelgia who had been watching quietly, now began to poke Sungchul’s shoulder with her corner.
“Ey, big strong man. How about helping the nice golem? You don’t have anything you’re good at except for using your strength and catching people anyway?”
“I cook well too?”
Sungchul walked over to the small golem. It was obstructed by a massive rubble whose end couldn’t be seen unless one looked straight up. This massive obstruction that appeared to need hundreds of horses cooperating to just barely drag it away was moved with nothing more than the strength of one man.
Sungchul felt the god-like strength coursing through his body as he lightly tossed the massive refuse to the side.
‘Mmm… Despite everything, I guess something like this is still a problem for someone my age.”
He felt his hips stiffen as he looked over to the small golem.
The small golem for the first time had shown interest in Sungchul as it stared at him unapologetically with his two marble-like eyes.
However, it was but a brief moment before it resumed its work. Sungchul who briefly observed its work began to feel a pang of hunger and headed to the river. The massive rivers that crossed through the jungle was filled with fish.
Sungchul enjoyed freshwater fish, but today he wanted to eat something different. He looked at the surroundings and noticed a marsh connected to the river. There were cotton plants that had grown to a man’s height growing at places around the marsh. Sungchul discovered a large crab crawling below the cotton plant.
Several mud crabs were being roasted bright red on a fire burning by the riverside. It was the most natural way of cooking, roasted over flames without the use of any spices or seasoning.
Sungchul tore off a crab leg that had been ready and pulled the pincer downwards. The steaming white flesh tempted Sungchul’s stomach. There was nothing more heavenly than this as he bit into it.
[The score of this dish… 22 points!]
The fact that the food received such a high score with nothing but the original ingredient meant that the material used was of excellent quality.
‘The area around the Screaming Sword’s Edge Mountain Range isn’t so bad.’
Bertelgia who hadn’t been interested in Sungchul’s dishes before was lingering around him for some particular reason.
“I like crab…”
“That’s quite the shame.”
Sungchul commented dryly before grabbing another leg and indulging himself. Bertelgia continued to watch him eating before she let out a sigh and howered around him as though she lost interest before abruptly opening her mouth as though she remembered something.
“Oh right… is it ok for us to be so relaxed? Don’t we have to get that bad guy Sajators?”
“The one who needs to find the other isn’t us, but Sajators”
“Is it because of that weapon?
She asked the question with deliberate naivety. Sungchul nodded, so she looked at his mood before asking another question.
“That thing… where did you get it from…?”
“It was a gift.”
“None of your business.”
Sungchul cut her off there.
“I see! Well, I wasn’t that curious anyways!”
As she became silent, Sungchul continued his meal in that silence.
Only the shells of the juicy and succulent mud crabs remained on the floor. Sungchul bit into a fruit that he had been eyeing in the jungle before heading toward the small golem once again.
The golem was still performing its endless task without complaint, but there was a difference. It was the small golem’s path. As it cleaned the fallen refuse of the ruins endlessly, it was heading toward a single point. A small path had formed where the golem had crossed. It was clear to see that the golem was trying to break a path to a certain point.
“How about helping? You’ve eaten, and it’ll cut down on time and increase his affection.”
Bertelgia spoke out, and Sungchul agreed that it wasn’t a bad thought as he headed toward the small golem to assist it.
The small golem peeked over at Sungchul before continuing its task. As Sungchul joined the process, the job became significantly faster.
‘It’s been a while since I’ve done work like this.’
An indeterminable time passed before the small golem stopped its movements. There was a familiar statue standing straight up before the small golem and Sungchul.
It was a figure that could be seen in Eckheart’s room before Sajators’ attack. The small golem devotedly cleaned the figure’s vicinity.
The small golem stared at Sungchul unapologetically while it finished the cleaning as though telling him to touch the statue. Sungchul slowly stretched his hand and reached toward Eckheart’s figure, and when he did, faint words appeared in his eyes.
It appeared that a portion of the text was lost as the destruction of the ruins had disrupted the formation, but what remained intact activated. Sungchul read through the string of text.
[ … If I had the Bertelgias that had been constructed all across the land, we might have been able to easily take care of the warlords of the merfolk and its armies that threaten the world; not to mention the Priest of the Abyss. However, it might be best to leave the Ruler of the Deep Seas to older brother Sajators and older sis Vestiare.]
“Bertelgia can you see it?”
Sungchul called out to Bertelgia. She shook her body.
“Hm? What are you talking about?”
“Try touching that model with your body.”
When Sungchul asked, Bertelgia brought a corner of her book toward the golem figure doubtfully and touched it.
Bertelgia must have seen it as well. The message continued.
[If you are an Alchemist Class, you may act with your back straight and your head held high. Alchemists might not be able to create something from nothing like god, but they can create hope from despair!]
“Didn’t papa leave this?”
Bertelgia’s body lightly shook. Sungchul nodded and look on toward the final message.
[If you see Carbung still hanging about outside, treat it well. He is quite shy, but overall friendly. I should have stopped them when they were putting him in a Soul Stone… he’s a good kid, so take care of him for me. Who knows? Maybe he’ll open his heart to you?]
The message ended there. Sungchul was suddenly looking up at the small golem standing beside him.
The small golem was looking down at Sungchul with its glass eyes as it cried out.
‘It must have formed this path to lead me here.’
Bertelgia suddenly flew over to the golem’s shoulders and spoke with a gentle voice.
“Your name must be Carbung.”
The small golem nodded.
“It’s papa’s naming sense, but I think it’s better than this man?”
Bertelgia spun around toward Sungchul.
“You have a problem with my naming convention?”
“You’re going to add some Favre or something.”
“Favre is a famous figure.”
As they argued back and forth, a significant change occurred to the small golem’s body. The chassis that surrounded the core opened up and the Soul Stone hidden within revealed itself. Sungchul and Bertelgia both shut their mouths and watched the small golem’s sudden action.
Carbung was speaking through its actions.
“Why is it suddenly doing this? Did you actually manage to earn Carbung’s heart already? That can’t be right.”
Bertelgia spoke with skepticism, and Sungchul was in agreement. His Charisma and Luck was at a solid 28. It was level of charisma that even a street cat could beat, but for one reason or another, Sungchul could understand the small golem’s inner thoughts.
‘You must have been lonely, spending several thousands of years all alone.’
Sungchul had also spent nearly ten years in solitude. He knew better than most how difficult it was to spend those years in solitude alone. Sungchul felt as such after just ten years, but the golem had spent thousands of such years.
Sungchul reached out and grasped the white Soul Stone within the golem, and when he did, brightly lettered message appeared in his view. Curiosity rose in Sungchul’s eyes.
[ Familiar ]
Merkit Carbuncle (Soul Stone)
A new category opened up in his status window.
‘This means that Bertelgia wasn’t something like a familiar as I thought.’
He had realized that she had been an individual entity since earlier, but this simply confirmed this suspicion.
Another surprising event followed. The familiar who was held within the soul stone transmitted its intentions directly to Sungchul’s consciousness. Sungchul looked at the Soul Stone before speaking to it in a low voice.
“What? You want me to make another golem in your stead to clean this place?”
The Soul Stone emitted a faint light in what seemed to be an affirmation.
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