The surviving golems began to march north. The sound of heavy footsteps from beyond the horizon thumped rhythmically like some song of percussion instruments. A cold night wind blew between the two of them and soon Dragoman began to speak.
“Desfort has chosen a city in the north eastern coast, past Ixion, as his base of operations. Even if you can’t find him in that city, you should be able to find tracks of the Colossus there.”
Dragoman began with the most important information. It was because he judged that small talk was counterproductive with Sungchul. It was not difficult to figure out at a glance if a person was a suitable target of stalling, probing, or provoking.
Truthfully, Dragoman’s judgement was spot on. Sungchul who obtained the answer he wanted put away Fal Garaz and mumbled as he looked to the north east.
“Habrus you say.”
It would take about two weeks if he were to take his time, but only two days if he were to hurry. If he could meet Desfort there, then this accursed second Calamity could potentially be resolved then and there. Beyond the question of whether Dragoman was telling the truth or not, getting rid of the leader of the Seven Heroes was the most important part of the second Calamity.
‘I suppose I’ll believe him for now.’
Even if Dragoman had lied, it doesn’t change the overall picture. The only downside is that it would slightly delay the resolution of the second Calamity. Dragoman watched Sungchul’s reaction carefully before finding an opportunity to open his mouth.
“In addition, Vestiare is in Ixion. Since she’s the only woman Desfort trusts, if you want to find out something in more detail it wouldn’t be bad to go find her first.”
He went further to reveal where Ga Xi Ong’s base was located.
“Ga Xi Ong is in the northern regions. I don’t know the name of the city but I recall it’s a picturesque city next to a clear lake.”
“So it’s Yerebant.”
“You know a lot.”
Dragoman looked relieved after he revealed the location of all of his comrades.
“The location of the Seven Heroes. This is what you wanted, right?”
“That’s enough for now. But I have another thing I want to ask.”
Sungchul had one thing he had always wanted to know. The relationship between the Seven Heroes and Eckheart. Sungchul indicated the head of the Colossus they were standing on and asked calmly.
“How did you obtain a Colossus like this?”
Dragoman would not know in his wildest dreams. The fact that his life and death was hinging on how he answered this question. Sungchul who obtained Eckheart’s Secret knew more about the Colossi than even the Seven Heroes. On the other hand, the Seven Heroes do not know how much Sungchul knows about Eckheart. In fact, it is likely that they do not know that Sungchul even knows of Eckheart at all. The baton was now passed to Dragoman. Sungchul’s eyes were fixed on Dragoman’s dry lips. Dragoman was quiet for a moment but he opened his mouth.
“It’s a work of an alchemist named Eckheart.”
Sungchul’s expression did not show any change. But he internally gave Dragoman a passing score. Dragoman continued to speak.
“He was like a servant who followed us around. But after trying time and time again, he eventually became a great alchemist. He used to argue that he was actually a Creationist, but whatever the case, this Colossus is that guy’s work. It was made to solve the Calamities of the previous era. The official name is Bertelgia Unit 1. The Colossus over there is Unit 2. As a side note, Bertelgia is the name of his sickened daughter.”
Bertelgia trembled inside of Sungchul’s pocket once she heard that. Sungchul felt that he understood what she was feeling.
‘Even if you know everything there is to know, it is different to hear about your father from someone that knew him.’
Dragoman’s explanation ended there.
“Well, that’s about it. Do you have anything else you want to know?”
“What happened to Eckheart?”
Sungchul asked. Dragoman looked surprised to hear such a question.
“You know Eckheart?”
“It’s natural to become curious about an alchemist who was able to make something like this Colossus.”
Sungchul did not say he does not know. But an obvious look of unmitigated contempt and dislike appeared on Dragoman’s face.
“Sorry but I don’t like the guy. So I don’t have much interest in him. If you really want to know more about him then ask Vestiare who followed him around, or Desfort. To be fair, the one who knew the most about him was Sajators but you killed him, so karma I suppose.”
Dragoman who had been modest and sincere suddenly changed. It showed just how much he disliked Eckheart. No matter how sturdy a stick was, it was bound to break if introduced to a force stronger than it can withstand. It seemed as though Eckheart was something Dragoman had difficulty handling.
‘It appears this is the limit of the information I could obtain from Dragoman. If he’s telling the truth, this is indeed very valuable information. But…”
The desire to use Oom Bruuk rose up in his mind like poison shrooms. Sungchul suppressed his rising desire as he spoke with a calm tone.
“I’ve heard everything I wish to hear.”
His desire would only grow if he were to keep talking. Sungchul knew that Bertelgia did not wish for him to use the weapon, so he made up his mind to let Dragoman go even if that would leave loose ends. A small grin appeared on Dragoman’s lips.
“May our paths never cross.”
Dragoman was about to leave when he seemed to recall something and turned back to face Sungchul.
“Do you know how to use that key?”
Sungchul looked surprised.
‘He unexpectedly has great customer service.’
He shook his head.
“I do not know.”
“That’s the key of the key. Something like an emergency key. The one with the blue string is for Unit 1, that is to say, for this unit. And the one with the green string is for Unit 2.”
“How do I use this?”
Sungchul asked, thinking back to when he had entered Sajator’s Colossus. At that time, there was no such thing as a key of keys.
“You should be able to figure out the details after you enter with the key. You should be contacted by the key of the Colossus if you do so. As long as you remember the name Bertelgia, it asks questions that even ogres are capable of answering, so I trust that you will say the right answer.”
Dragoman jumped off of the Colossus after he finished. And just like he had claimed, he made extremely dexterous and agile movements. He might have exerted himself more on purpose to emphasize the point that he was fast. Dragoman who cut through the dark night sky like a sparrow was soon completely out of Sungchul’s sight.
“That bastard. So despicable!”
As soon as Dragoman disappeared, Bertelgia appeared from the pocket and immediately began to express her anger.
“That coward who betrays and sells out his comrades to save his own skin!”
“Let it go, Bertelgia.”
“Ahh! So annoying! What’s the point of keeping around weapons of Calamity if you don’t use it on someone like him?”
‘I guess she’s a girl after all, making me confused.’
Shaking his head of bitter memories that bubbled up, Sungchul hurried inside of the head of the Colossus. The control room interior did not look much different from the one he had seen in Panchuria.
“Hmm. The one we saw before was Unit 3, right?”
Bertelgia flew around the inside of the control room like she owned the place and said. Sungchul nodded and headed to the center of the control room.
‘As I thought. It’s here.’
At the altar in the center of the control room was a book that looked just like Bertelgia, standing upright and surrounded by a mystical light. This was the key that drove the Colossus. Sungchul reached out with his hands like before. But a warning message immediately covered his vision.
[Those without permission cannot pull out the Key of Knowledge.]
[The list of those with permission is as follows.]
[Seven Heroes, and Eckheart.]
Sungchul took out the key he had received from Dragoman. It was the one with the green string.
“He said it was the blue one!”
Bertelgia immediately nagged like a mother in law. Sungchul exchanged that key with the one with the blue string and brought it to the altar with the book. Then he was presented with a different message from before.
[Master Key Confirmed.]
[A question will be asked to verify that the master key rightfully belongs to you.]
[What is the name of this machine?]
It was as if the book itself was speaking to him. Sungchul looked at the book on the Altar and opened his mouth.
“Mmm? What is it?”
[From now on, the Colossal Calamity Warmachine Bertelgia Unit 1 will obey your commands.]
“Why did you call me?”
Colossus stopped moving. Sungchul discovered that the Colossus stopped all activity from within the rumble of the Colossus.
Bertelgia who was less aware only realized the fact after a while.
“Did the key of that idiot Draguman or Dragura or whatever work?”
“It appears so.”
The Colossus stopped moving and became obedient to Sungchul’s commands. It was a lukewarm conclusion. He seemed to recall that last time he had to use alchemy and had all sorts of trouble. Sungchul glanced over to the book placed on the altar. Size, quality, material. No matter how he looked at it, it looked just like Bertelgia.
‘Is it just a coincidence? Or were most of the books made in that style back in that era?’
There was a similar book that looked just like Bertelgia on Colossus Unit 3 as well, but he had overlooked the fact as a coincidence. But now that he had seen it for the second time, it was natural for him to suddenly have questions.
“What are you thinking with such a serious face? Let’s go secure Unit 2 as well!”
Bertelgia said with anger in her voice as she landed on Sungchul’s shoulder.
There was no reason to head to the Colossus Unit 2 immediately. It wasn’t like the Colossus could get very far, and there was nothing in the vicinity that could be destroyed with the exception of the Golems, so there was no problem leaving them alone. The important thing was that there was a nagging feeling in his mind. Sungchul reached out towards the book on the altar recalling the events of the past.
[Removing the Key of Knowledge will irreversibly end all functions of the Colossus.]
[Do you still wish to continue?]
Sungchul decided to withhold from pulling out the book for now. It was because the question was different from before. What Sungchul wanted was Eckheart’s Exam quest. It must exist somewhere within this Colossus. Eckheart’s inheritance. It was imperative to get the quest in order to obtain the Creationist class as well as get the increasingly valuable information on Eckheart.
‘For one, this one looks similar to Bertelgia. It might be able to understand words.’
Sungchul turned his gaze to the book placed on the altar, and thinking he had nothing to lose, quietly said,
“I am an Alchemist.”
No notable changes occured within the altar itself. It was when Sungchul was about to look dissatisfied. A new message appeared and obstructed his vision.
[Are thou an Alchemist?]
The question he was waiting for finally came. And another question soon followed.
[What do you desire?]
Sungchul gave a short answer.
[Do you desire taking on the exam?]
To this reply, Sungchul felt,
‘Does it understand?’
Sungchul nodded at the book that looked just like Bertelgia who was sitting within the barrier without a word. Then a similar situation as last time took place. Lanterns of Luminous Ore appeared and illuminated the whole of the control room, and hidden tables materialized and took form before Sungchul.
And then several kinds of reagents and ingredients revealed themselves.
[Eckheart’s final question 1.]
[There is an alchemical item that could be made using these ingredients. Create it and then place it on top of the altar in the front. Then you will be able to obtain what you wanted.]
[Furthermore, use of any tool is permitted.]
Everything worked out the way he wanted. Sungchul turned to Bertelgia as always and said what he often said.
Bertelgia let out a sigh before replying listlessly.
“I know. I’ll have to earn my meal. Even though I’ve never eaten a meal from you!”
Bertelgia opened the pages to her book to search for a recipe that seemed likely to be the answer to Eckheart’s test. Sungchul awaited for an answer feeling excited for once.