Sungchul found a carriage as well as two tamed horses on his way to Ixion by chance. So Sungchul followed the main road without a care in the world riding the carriage he happened upon. Soon, he came across a few people still living in the area. They were people who did not run away from the eastern regions.
It seemed as though these people were greatly afraid of outsiders. Just by noticing Sungchul approach from afar, they ran home and hid themselves.
Sungchul intentionally hurried past the villages.
“What kind of place was Ixion?”
Sungchul briefly fell into thoughts about the past at Bertelgia’s question before he answered.
“It’s a small country. It also had a Magic School.”
“Was it better than Airfruit?”
“Well. I don’t know, but I do recall that it was treated as one of the top schools in the eastern regions.”
The wealthier eastern regions of the continent had higher population and levels of education compared to the rest of the continent. Though it had no large nation nor powerful armies, it was far more plentiful in talented individuals compared to the central or western regions. This is why it was no surprise to Sungchul that hidden masters like Phoebe Canvas or Angelo Rooks have appeared from the eastern regions.
This was why the Emperor did not wish for the various nations of the east to bind together. If a grand nation spanning the entire east were to be formed, it could pose serious challenges to the hegemony of the Empire. The Kingdom of Ruteginea regularly invaded the east to haul away a great number of orphans and slaves to crush potential rivals ahead of time, but the Emperor used sly political maneuvers to control the east. Ixion was one of the resting points for Sungchul in the past when he was taking a trip in the region.
“…Ixion’s king looked unremarkable and was small in stature, but he was a remarkable man. He opposed the creation of the World Parliament until the very end.”
“I wasn’t curious about the king though.”
“The only thing I remember is the king. The streets were decently beautiful, but it was a country without distinction.”
Sungchul remembered something as he was speaking.
“Ah. There’s that too.”
“There was a restaurant that made an unbelievable Onion Soup. There were probably no store in the entire continent that could make as good soup as that restaurant.”
“Again, again with eating.”
Bertelgia did not enjoy the topic of food all that much. Inhabiting a body that is unable to eat must be one of the reasons, but it seemed as though she didn’t find much pleasure in food from the start.
“Then what do you enjoy?”
It was the first time Sungchul asked Bertelgia about her taste in food.
Bertelgia fell to her side on the seat of the carriage and fell into thought for a moment before she seemed to remember something and replied in a merry tone.
“Yeah. You have no idea how tasty it is if you remove the legs and roast it over a fire!”
This made Sungchul think to himself.
‘And who was it that complained when I ate Fat Innkeeper worm?’
Sungchul does not eat grasshoppers. It wasn’t like he completely refused to eat insects, but he didn’t eat them unless they were a kind of a delicacy, as opposed to a substitute for food.
“To be honest, there wasn’t much else to eat back in my day. The weather was terrible all the time, leading to a chronic famine. We’ve had to often live off of grass and the like.”
Bertelgia replied in a timid attitude for once.
“Although it did seem like the Seven Heroes ate good food. The reason why I said before that Desfort was a good person was because he brought food with him as a present each time he came to our house to visit.”
“I see that he’s not fundamentally a bad man.”
The journey continued. They arrived within sight of Ixion. The shape of a Colossus could be seen in the distant horizon.
‘Is that the city said to be made overnight? I can’t find anything that looks familiar.’
The closer they got to the city, the more Sungchul felt that this was not an emergency city erected hastily. Tall and magnificent walls that surrounded the city, and the numerous spires that rose above them; It didn’t look like a city that was made overnight at all. Once they reached the walls, Sungchul saw that as opposed to a defensive structure, the walls were essentially a piece of art in their structure and decoration.
But the thing that was the most concerning was the unnatural energy surrounding the entirety of the city. Several types of boundary barriers as well as barriers of unknown function completely covered the city. It looked like it wouldn’t be easy infiltrating this city from below or from above. Sungchul fell into thought after seeing the city up close.
‘The scariest thing about this city might not be the fact that it was made in one day, but rather the formations that surround the city.’
Under the walls were a gate guarded by Magic Swordsmen.
Once Sungchul reached the wall, they blew on a horn.
“Are you the Destroyer?”
One of the guards approached Sungchul and asked courteously. Once Sungchul nodded, the gates were opened. Beyond the gates were a large crowd.
“Please go ahead.”
The guards politely invited Sungchul in. Once Sungchul passed through the barrior and entered the walls, the citizens all bowed in Sungchul’s direction in unison.
“It is the visit by the great Destroyer!”
“All, bow in respect to the Destroyer!”
A sudden festival seemed to erupt in the otherwise quiet ivory colored city. A large assortment of bells began to ring without pause as flower petals were scattered in the wind. Lively music could be heard all over.
It seemed like the residents of Ixion were full heartedly welcoming Sungchul’s arrival.
“What is this? This is somehow scary.”
It wasn’t strange for Bertelgia to tremble. This was the first time Sungchul received this kind of welcome upon becoming the Enemy of the World.
But even more suspicious than this was an eerie flow that permeated the city. He couldn’t pick out exactly what, but the very air seemed fundamentally different and unnatural. As if the order of another world was in play.
The reason why Sungchul was reacting sensitively to such a thing was because he had a similar experience in the past.
‘I get the same unnatural feeling as the time I was on my way to meet god. Although it’s clearly different from that…’
But whatever were to appear, there was not a thing in this world that could harm Sungchul. Sungchul continued to look around as he thought as such.
Sungchul noticed that there was a statue that took place all over the city. A strong male figure with four arms. It was a being that was more mystical, like a demon or a god, than a man.
‘Just what is this? It’s a figure I’ve never seen before.’
There were far too many similar statues to pass it off as a whimsical creation of a random sculptor. Sungchul asked a soldier who was walking alongside him.
“What is that?”
The soldier smiled as he responded to the question.
“It’s the guardian of the city, Sidmia.”
It was a name he has never heard before.
“I’m an outsider so I don’t know very much about it, but I’ve heard that it’s been worshiped as the guardian deity of Ixion since long ago.”
It’s the first he’s heard this.
Although he was hunted as a heretic, Sungchul had known about Ixion since long ago. Let alone Sidmia, he’s never even seen a single statue like this before.
‘How strange. For a city made overnight to be a center of a pagan religion.’
Sungchul quietly walked through the city as he gazed over the crowd of people who all looked his way with a smile and look of wonder.
At the center of the ivory city and under the Colossus was Vestiare’s palace. Vestiare was waiting for Sungchul at the entrance of the palace along with smaller versions of herself acting as maids.
“I’ve been waiting for you, Destroyer.”
Vestiare gave a refined smile as she courteously greeted him.
“What are you scheming?”
Sungchul’s tone was cold despite having been given a grand welcome involving a great number of people. He judged that the current situation was concealing malicious machinations of Vestiare.
“What do you mean by scheming? All I’ve done is do my due diligence in treating you in a way that you deserve.”
Vestiare replied to Sungchul as she looked him straight in the eye. She then led Sungchul inside. Sungchul followed her without a word and entered Vestiare’s palace under the Colossus.
Once they entered a reception room that was decorated in pure white tones, small Vestiares served them with tea and snacks. Bertelgia gave an uncomfortable reaction upon seeing the children Vestiares.
“What’s up with them? They’re not Homunculi nor Fairies…”
“There is no point analyzing behaviors of evil magicians, Bertelgia.”
Sungchul picked up a steaming cup of tea and gave it a taste. It was of highest quality. It lacked the stench of poison. Sungchul boldly drank the tea. It had an as exquisite taste as its aroma. However, the snack was not up to par in his opinion.
“How is it? The tea and snack I’ve personally prepared?”
Vestiare appeared alone in the reception room as he was enjoying the tea. Sungchul glared at her as he gave a gruff reply.
“The tea is top quality, but the snacks are mediocre.”
“Oh my, what a strict evaluation.”
Sungchul quietly watched Vestiare take a seat in front of him with openly hostile eyes. Once she was seated, Sungchul cut to the chase.
“Why did you call me?”
Vestiare smiled with her eyes as she took a sip of her tea. Sungchul couldn’t help but acknowledge that Vestiare’s level of beauty was difficult to match by anyone on the continent.
‘She would probably be considered a top beauty even among the High Elves.’
But he has far surpassed the age where he would be tempted by her appearance. Nevermind that his body was not one that could in the first place. Vestiare drank her tea under the cold glare of Sungchul before meeting his eyes with a graceful stare.
“You have no reason to fight us.”
“Are you wanting some sort of cease fire?”
He was about to say that she was saying the same thing as Dragoman. It wasn’t out of consideration for Dragoman. Sungchul simply did not want to reveal to Vestiare that he obtained information from him.
“I have learned the reason why you have abandoned your place among the Thirteen Champions of the Continent and left on a journey. There were a few interesting facts.”
Vestiare put down her tea and analyzed Sungchul. She could not find any kind of reaction from Sungchul.
All he did was give a surly reply. Vestiare continued with a faint smile.
“I’ve learned that you’ve been living happily after adopting the daughter of the princess of Ruteginea. Until she was brought to the brink of death due to the Curse of Extinction.”
“Curse of Extinction.”
An indecipherable smile appeared on Vestiare’s lips.
“I’ve heard that it’s been widely accepted that the curse is divine in nature and therefore unbreakable.”
“What is it that you want to say?”
“The Curse of Extinction is not impossible to break like it is commonly believed in the current era.”
“Are you saying that there is a way to undo the curse?”
Vestiare nodded with a smile at Sungchul’s question.
Sungchul had an uncomfortable recollection upon hearing this. He recalled the prank by Sajator’s remnant long ago in the Summoning Palace. Sungchul had been greatly enraged at the time, which led to him vowing to kill Sajators and then carrying it out.
“There is something I want to show you. Since you look like someone who trusts his eyes more than his ears, simply showing you something is probably going to be more effective than giving you a long explanation.”
Vestiare stood up from her seat
Sungchul suppressed great many questions and suspicions as he got up and followed her.
Vestiare walked to the back of the palace. Once he reached the back gardens, the form of the kneeling Colossus blocked his view. Sungchul glared at the Colossus and spoke.
“Are you saying that there is something to see inside of the Colossus?”
“No. It’s below.”
Vestiare pointed at something below the Colossus.
Under the shadow of the Colossus was a domed building the size of a mansion.
TL Note: The comment about onion soup makes me think the eastern region is actually kind of like idelic medieval France.