After a bit of preparation, Sungchul proceeded to clear the second-floor basement. The large number of Cave Elves weren’t a problem.
The Cave Elves fled in a panic at the mere sound of Cassandra flicking in the air after a couple massacres. They seemed to possess a certain degree of intelligence as they launched a mass attack with hundreds of individuals hiding in ambush and a traditional upfront assault with a smaller group of elite soldiers. But no matter what tactic or strategy they employed, it was all in the face of Sungchul and his demonic weapon Cassandra.
The blind creatures began to tremble at the sound of death itself that this intruder wielded, and did not dare approach him.
“… You’re quite experienced at this.”
Bertelgia who had been silent during all this spoke quietly.
“You shouldn’t be careless while dealing with primitive races. They are honest in their savagery and trickery. You’ll be fighting them forever if they think you’re weak or if you give them an inch.”
Sungchul spoke as he slapped the whip across the floor once again.
“I guess you’ve done this a lot.”
Sungchul nodded at her comment.
“I’ve been around a few dungeons and mazes.”
Nearly forgotten scenes from dungeons that have become faint in his memory flashed before his eyes. There were some that made him feel nostalgic at the mere sight of them, while others were just nightmarish.
“Anyways, this dungeon. There is a plentiful amount of mana flowing in here, unlike the outside. Do you feel it?”
A much dense concentration of mana existed here in the Underground Palace of the Nahak compared to the outside to be exact. Plentiful environmental mana meant that same spells would be cast with more power and lost mana would be recovered much more quickly.
“While we’re in this situation, why not use spells to break through instead of the whip? Wasn’t your goal magic proficiency anyways?”
“That is something to consider.”
It was definitely more convenient to proceed using the demonic equipment Cassandra, but it was more appealing to use magic for training as magic was something that improved with usage like the body.
“The environment is also good for Alchemy because high-level Alchemic Items require a lot of mana. You should be able to make up to level 5 Alchemic Items without chugging down Mana Essence like before.”
“You make a good point.”
Bertelgia flew up and down at Sungchul’s rare compliment while pretending to clear her throat in glee.
“Of course. Who do you think Bertelgia is? I am the embodiment of knowledge itself!”
Sungchul placed the whip into his Soul Storage as he continued the exploration. He saw a group of Cave Elves loitering about. Sungchul used Glare on the Cave Elves; the beam of light tore through their flesh burning away their innards.
The Cave Elf that was struck directly with Glare flailed about wildly before falling. The rest of the Cave Elves determined Sungchul’s location and lunged to attack.
Sungchul leisurely dodged their attacks while plugging Glare towards their hearts or under their chins without fail. Every time a beam of light sprouted from his fingertips, a Cave Elf fell.
The only one that remained looked like the boss of the lot. Unlike others, it wore a metal armor over its chest and held a weapon and shield made to look like claws by using what appeared to be interwoven beaks.
‘He looks like an adequate opponent to test my current level of strength.’
Sungchul slowly extended his finger to cast Glare. The Cave Elf was instinctively wary of Sungchul’s finger movements and raised his shield.
Glare’s beam of light struck directly at the surface of the shield, but that wasn’t all.
It went on to pierce the shield and the breastplate, searing the Cave Elf’s flesh. It didn’t pierce him all the way through, but it was enough to leave the Cave Elf in poor spirits.
A faint smile rose on Sungchul’s lips.
‘It looks like the offensive punch went up because of the environmental mana here.’
The Cave Elf boss lunged forward with his claws made of beaks after taking the hit. Just as the claws reached him, Sungchul stepped to the side to evade then kicked at the elf’s foot. The Cave Elf fell straight to the floor in a mess, and Sungchul aimed at the back of his neck where his helmet and breastplate met with his Glare.
The Cave Elf shook a single time violently before falling limp. Sungchul repeated the feel of that recent bit of combat in his head as he walked forward. Two more bouts of battle occurred following this one. Sungchul brought down every mob of Cave Elves with only his Glare and finally arrived at a large room.
The room was grand enough to be the audience chamber. The decoration and ornaments that once adorned this room had long since rotted off or had been stolen. However, the throne made of obsidian and the large avian sculptures around it still possessed the imposing aura of the mighty Nahak race that once dominated the Other World.
“It looks like this is the audience chamber of the Nahaks. Wow, it is quite different… to human sensibilities anyways.”
Bertelgia looked around her surroundings as she spoke with great interest. Sungchul also checked his surroundings as he walked into the chamber. He didn’t see any relic that stood out particularly.
Sungchul took a look at the throne. The fact that it had space made specifically to accommodate wings was particularly memorable. It was a shame that all the gems and ornaments had been stolen off from the throne. Sungchul discovered a dust covered sack left beneath the throne. When he opened the sack, the jewels and gold shone brilliantly beneath a layer of dust. It looked as though someone had ripped out everything valuable attached to the audience chamber and gathered it into the sack. But that someone didn’t manage to escape to the outside…
Sungchul dusted off the sack before placing it into his Soul Storage.
“Uuu.. this isn’t right.”
Bertelgia put up a protest, but Sungchul didn’t bat an eye. After tucking away the jewels, he discovered two skeletons behind the throne. A single spear made of bone pierced through the corpses who lay embraced, like two lovers. Sungchul took the pendant around one of the skeleton’s neck. There was a picture of a man and a woman during their happiest moment within the cheap trinket made of brass and silver.
Sungchul left the audience chamber to soon discover the stairs heading down to the third floor basement. On the third floor basement, there was an obsidian door similar to the one on the second floor. The sculpture attached to it lit up as he stood before the door and displayed a message.
[Display the symbol of the Nahak.]
Sungchul brought out the symbol of the Nahak that he had pocketed earlier. It was an object possessing magic made of obsidian. Sungchul placed it into the gap in the altar.
When he did, a gentle green light flowed out from the symbol and the obsidian door that had obstructed him began to open. The stale air that had been trapped behind the door blew toward Sungchul’s face.
“Woah. The mana concentration is even thicker here.”
Sungchul was thinking the same thing. The deeper one entered into the Underground Kingdom of the avian race, the denser the concentration of mana was in the air. Sungchul tore down a wall to confirm his suspicions. Innumerable skeletons poured out of the third floor wall like the walls of the second floor.
“How many thousands of people were stuffed into this dungeon?”
Bertelgia spoke with a slight shudder.
The orientation of the third floor was comparatively plain. There was a line-shaped corridor beyond the door, and several hundreds of doors alongside it. There didn’t seem to be any need to break down the walls. Sungchul simply followed the corridor.
The atmosphere of the two floors differed as well. The concentration of mana was one thing, but not a single Cave Elf lingered here. He soon discovered the reason. There was something massive wandering the corridor. It was an obsidian golem with the skull of a bird.
When the golem discovered Sungchul, it fired off a long-range magic attack. Five balls of fire flew toward Sungchul in a spiral formation.
Bertelgia immediately shrunk down and dug into Sungchul’s pocket. After Bertelgia had been secured, Sungchul pulled out Fal Garaz as usual. However, he changed his mind slightly as he held the hammer.
‘This golem. How about I try to take care of it with only Glare?’
Golems had strong tolerance towards magic. It wasn’t something he would normally dare to do, but the situation wasn’t a normal one. Wasn’t this place overflowing with mana? Sungchul’s magic power surpassed a beginner’s and nearly reached into the realm of mid-grade magicians, but he might be able to harness a greater power than normal while he is in this underground dungeon.
That is getting a power-up that was similar to the intense explosion of the fireballs fired off by the golem.
Sungchul hastily put away Fal Garaz, and ran toward the obsidian golem. It looked massive from a distance, but he could fully appreciate that it was a gigantic golem of at least eight meters up close.
“Enemy of Nahak. Exterminate.”
The obsidian golem let out a metallic sound as he extended his hand made of stone. There was a magic crystal embedded in the center of his palm. A complex magical formation bloomed from the crystal. Sungchul’s eyes reflexively read off the pattern of the magical formation.
He immediately evaded to the side. A white frost enveloped the space that Sungchul had once stood in and froze everything in place. He circled around toward the back of the golem. The arm that had fired off the frost tried to follow Sungchul’s movements, but its speed was lacking.
Sungchul stopped at the edge of the frost’s range and aimed the beams of light towards the weak points of the golem, such as the connection between the arm and the shoulder.
Glare fired off with greater brilliance and thickness than usual. Its power was several times higher than before. However, the beam of light only managed to heat up the golem’s joint and failed to pierce it.
‘If only I had more power.’
There was no room for regrets. Glare’s strong points were its short incantation and quick cast. Sungchul continued to cast Glare at its joint in succession until the golem’s right arm separated from its torso.
The golem who lost its arm began to swing its remaining arm in in a frenzy and tried to engage in close quarter combat while spewing blue flames of hellfire from its mouth.
Sungchul kept resisting with Glare, but he could feel the limits of his magic power and retreated, but this space was filled to the brim with mana. He recovered what he lost quickly. Sungchul readied himself to try against the golem once again after recovering his mana from behind a pillar; this process repeated 3 times. After a long battle that lasted 40 minutes, Sungchul managed to defeat the golem with solely his magic.
“Enemy of Nahak… Extermin…”
The core of the fallen golem who had lost his limbs lost its light. Sungchul opened his status window as he appreciated the rapid recovery of his mana in front of the shattered golem.
Strength 999+ Dexterity 853
Vitality 801 Magic Power 191(+52)
Intuition 173 Magic Resist 621
Resolve 502 Charisma 18
His magic power had risen by more than 50 by simply being in this space. No only that, his magic power had grown significantly. He was definitely within the mid-180s during the last time he had checked, but he was now at 190. At this rate, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to hope to surpass the hallmark of a mid-grade mage which was a magic power of 200.
‘This is better growth than I expected. I knew that concentration of mana would help mana recovery and strengthen spells, but does it also supplement growth?’
Sungchul suddenly felt an urge to use other spells. He felt that it might allow for greater growth by using up more mana with more powerful spells against even more formidable enemies, but the only other offensive spell he knew from Cosmomancy was Meteor, and that required an intuition higher than 210.
“It might be good to start by taking a break at this point.”
Bertelgia who was watching him from the rear spoke up.
“Your mana might recover quickly, but the one using the mana is still your body. Just because the tank fills up quicker doesn’t mean your body got stronger.”
Sungchul decided to stop the exploration here for today. He still had two days left. Since he had cleared the third floor in a day, he should be able to go much deeper and perhaps even discover the Nahak’s crown. Sungchul left behind the remains of the golem without regrets and left the dungeon.
He left as he slapped Cassandra the demonic weapon along the floor as a warning. After leaving the dungeon posthaste, Sungchul found a rocky mountain upon which he could keep a vision on the dungeon and took a bit of rest. A good rest was a crucial part of any training regiment. However, it didn’t take long until a deep ringing sound could be heard in the air. Sungchul looked up toward the sky. An airship was heading his direction from the south. It was Willie Gilford’s airship.
‘What? He returned this quick? That doesn’t make sense.’
The airship descended at a location near the dungeon. A rope web flew down from the deck allowing several people to disembark from the ship. At least several dozens of people landed onto the surface. However, Sungchul’s eyes grew wide when he saw who they were.
‘What? Aren’t they… the Suicide Unit?’
It was unmistakable. The worn-out clothes with the prisoner number stitched on with ragged cloth. They were most definitely the Suicide Unit.
‘How did those guys get on board that boat?’
Sungchul soon discovered the reason. There was a familiar face next to Willie Gilford. It was the leader of the Suicide Unit, the rock-headed Genghis Aaron. He was standing next to the Seventh Continental Champion with a modest posture.
Willie looked back towards Aaron with a smile.
“If I knew you were in this place, I would have requested help a lot sooner.”
“No! If I knew the Duke was near here, I would have come to meet you at all cost!”
When Sungchul saw this, he was reminded of something he had overlooked.
‘Ah, even that guy was a Sword Master from the Ancient Kingdom.’
Their goals weren’t clear yet, but it was true that the two Sword Masters were conspiring something. A small explosion sounded from the entrance. A few members of the Suicide Unit had activated the explosive trap that had been set by the devils as they descended using the pulley operated lift.
Five members of the Suicide Unit fell in free-fall with the lift toward the bottom.
“My my. You’ve already lost some of your precious soldiers?”
Willie clicked his tongue as he spoke, but Aaron looked magnanimous. His eyes sparkled as he spoke energetically.
“There are still plenty left!”
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