“Can we become fairies if we cross beyond this door-yeyo?”
“We can take off these heavy and stinky helmets once we become fairies-yeyo! I want to quickly become a lord that rules over humans-yeyo!”
“Miss Mimi! Let’s ignore that human and continue down this path-yeyo!”
The Homunculi began to shout excitedly. Mimi struck the floor with her staff and spoke angrily.
“Everyone quiet down.”
At her scolding, the five Homunculi swallowed their fear and became hushed.
“I apologize. My familiars were excessively loud.”
Mimi put on a pretentious smile as she gave a small nod toward Sungchul. Sungchul pointed toward the obsidian door.
“Can you open this door?”
“Yes. I can open the door. Not only that door, but I can also open the doors of antiquity that lies beyond this door. This’ll be my gift for your work on those pesky golems.”
Sungchul extended his hand to receive the symbol which he inserted into the slot on the altar.
[One of noble blood, you may enter]
[His Majesty awaits impatiently]
[For the restoration of the Nahak]
The eyes of the avian statue lit up and the door opened with a small tremor.
“It is quite dangerous starting from the fourth floor. I wish you luck. Even if we meet in the Tomb of the King, let us refrain from fighting. We are seeking different things.”
Sound of military boots was then heard from a distance. Sungchul and Mimi both looked back. The Sword Masters of the Ancient Kingdom and the surviving members of the Suicide Unit had entered the third floor.
“Find Mimi Azrael! She must be somewhere around here!”
The one leading the group was not Willie Gilford, but his son Mikhael. He was gritting his teeth.
‘I have to get results this time; otherwise, father will give away my birthright to my younger brother, and I will be cast into the cold”
Willie Gilford had three sons. They had all grown into brilliant Sword Masters, but their relationship couldn’t be considered friendly. It was well known that the second son, Mikhael, was far lacking in terms of talent among the three. He was inferior in every way to his brothers; in character, in intellect, and even in skill with the sword. Mikhael wasn’t one to listen to these hearsays, but he could also feel that his father’s paternal devotion and expectations were dwindling as of late. He had thrown himself into this dungeon in order to regain his value. To the dungeon where almost the entire expedition of mighty veteran warriors and magicians of the Ancient Kingdom had nearly been wiped out.
“Master, do not feel rushed. As long as Master Willie has plugged the exit, Miss Azrael is but a rat in a corner. Don’t rush instead, track her carefully and you’ll eventually be able to find that female mage.”
Butler Odrias was Mikhael’s sole ally. Mikhael who was arrogant and self-righteous, just like his father, listened to the old butler’s word without hesitation.
“We’ve got an unwelcome guest. It might be best to split up.”
When Mimi made a gesture, one of her Homunculi muttered an incantation which veiled them in an invisible fog. She used a teleportation magic within the fog and disappeared to another place. Her destination could not be determined.
Sungchul also hid his presence and melted into the darkness. A spiraling staircase extending down to the fourth floor was waiting for him. Sungchul quickly descended to the fourth floor.
When he reached the bottom of the stairs, glints of emerald light brilliantly shined from all directions.
Bertelgia couldn’t help but whisper in admiration. There were clusters of green gems lining every wall along the fourth floor basement, including the ceiling.
“These are Green Stones of Luminosity. They are all entirely made from Alchemy!”
Bertelgia spoke as she carefully examined the green gems exuding light before her. Sungchul slowly walked down the corridor filled with emerald lights until he noticed something lying ahead. Whatever it was, it was waiting for him. Sungchul stopped his steps and projected his voice further down the corridor.
“Who is it? Reveal yourself.”
Upon hearing his voice, a shadowy figure appeared beyond the bright lights. A hint of curiosity flickered in his eyes. What appeared within the emerald brilliance was something unexpected. A blind creature; a Cave Elf had appeared before him. It had an appearance different than the Cave Elves Sungchul had seen before, wearing a circlet made of beaks and a dress decorated with feathers. Sungchul’s Eye of Truth, his Soul Contract, activated itself.
‘Is it an illusion?’
What appeared before him was an illusion of the Cave Elf, but it wasn’t just a simple illusion; It breathed and gave off a foul stench. It was a spell that he hadn’t come across yet.
Sungchul finished his conclusions of the situation as he spoke while looking directly at the Cave Elf.
“I said to reveal your identity.”
When Sungchul asserted himself, the Cave Elf swung his staff and opened his mouth.
“Kii…. I-I have not c-come… to f-fight…”
Surprisingly, the Cave Elf spoke in the language of the Other World. His vocalization was airy and the timbre of his voice sounded metallic so it was difficult to understand, but the crowned Cave Elf undoubtedly spoke the common language of this world.
Sungchul glared at the Cave Elf and spoke in a low voice.
“What is your purpose then?”
“I-I have… thoroughly witnessed… your strength. You are one… that we could never oppose… despite this… you cannot go further…”
“State the reason, blind man.”
The Cave Elf shook as though struck with fear then spoke with great difficulty in a trembling metallic voice.
“Beyond here… lies… the King of Feathers and Beaks…”
“King? The King of the Avians?”
“T-That… is correct… The accursed king… who not only buried alive… millions of my kind… but swallowed up his own kind…”
“Are you saying that the King of Avians still lives?”
The Cave Elf who was unfamiliar with Sungchul’s question muttered something unintelligible. Not even Sungchul was able discern a meaning. When this undecipherable mumble came to an end, the Cave Elf slowly continued his speech.
“The King… of Feathers and Beaks… Not even you… can oppose him… He has already far surpassed… the mortal limits… and has stepped into… the realm of lesser gods… If… that thing is awakened… great disaster… will befall us…”
Those were the final words of the crowned Cave Elf. After speaking, the Cave Elf collapsed, and his entire body went up in black smoke. Another Cave Elf with a different appearance was lying in its place when the smoke had cleared.
‘He must have cast an illusory magic on a living body of his kin.’
It was magic that he had never heard of. It could possibly be the secret magic passed down among Cave Elves from the forgotten ancient era of the past. The Cave Elves must be feeling desperate to use such a magic to warn Sungchul.
‘Quite an unusual thing. The King of the Avians might still be alive according to what the Cave Elves had said, but Mimi hadn’t said a word about it.’
He couldn’t determine which side was lying, but things like this did not bother Sungchul. As long as there was a way to gain more power, he had no choice but to push forward. Sungchul erased all suspicion from his mind and walked forth. A new enemy soon blocked his path. They were the mummified avian corpses. They had a sinister aura about them which was incomparable to the one emitted by the skeletal swarm roaming on the first floor. Sungchul could feel the chill of an insidious black magic from these corpses.
Cassandra, the demonic weapon, made another appearance from the Soul Storage.
The heavy blow from the whip left the corpses in pieces.
At that same moment, another battle was going on somewhere nearby. Sungchul could hear an explosion rather close by along with the scream of Homunculi. He headed towards the noise.
Mimi looked at the limp corpses of the avians with a cold stare. There was not a scratch on her person, but she wasn’t without losses. One of the Homunculi had lost its leg and was crawling along the floor.
“Miss Mimi… Miss Mimi… leave behind this Head of Investigations Ujira! I can’t go on.”
The Homunculus had dragged himself toward Mimi as it bled from its severed limb and whispered in a quiet voice as it grabbed her skirt. Mimi looked hesitant but soon landed on a decision.
Mimi looked toward the other Homunculi.
“New Head of Investigations Ujichu! You’ll be casting the veil this time.”
She disappeared into the darkness with the other four Homunculi.
When their presence faded away, Sungchul approached the Homunculus that had lost its leg. The iron mask that had covered the Homunculus’s face had been crushed revealing a portion of its hideously twisted face. On seeing this Sungchul began to wonder if these Homunculi had been formed by some other method than the one he was familiar with.
“Enhanced Homunculus… poor thing.”
Bertelgia spoke in a sad voice. The Homunculus who had heard her voice looked towards Sungchul’s direction.
“Why are you looking at me-yeyo? Are you perhaps pitying me even though you’re just some human-yeyo?”
The Homunculus revealed a completely opposite attitude filled with hostility and aggression as to when it was talking to Mimi.
Sungchul didn’t rebuke it and tossed the creature a bandage. It was some cheap styptic.
“I don’t need such things-yeyo! I don’t need cheap pity-yeyo!”
The bone-chilling eyes of the Homunculus revealed through the crumpled iron mask began to spasm, but the homunculus applied the medicine toward the critical injury. It must have felt unbearable pain as it let out a peculiar cry in agony.
After applying the styptic, the homunculus began to hurriedly crawl into the darkness with its two arms.
“I must… I must repay Miss Mimi for giving us life yeyo… I must…”
More grumbling could be heard from the restless Homunculus that faded into the darkness. Sungchul left the scene.
In front of the dungeon, there were countless avian corpses lying in wait. These hollowed existences of an ancient time had no thoughts and no fear as they had their souls plundered through some sinister dark magic. They only knew to exterminate anyone that dared to intrude upon the tomb of their king.
‘There is no end of them.’
He could fight them all day, but a lot of time was wasting away. He decided to change his method. Sungchul pulled out Fal Garaz from the Soul Storage. He held Cassandra the demonic weapon on the right, and Fal Garaz on the left.
The hammer didn’t strike the avians, but the stone wall. The wall crumbled to open a path which allowed countless more avians to lunge towards him.
Cassandra, the demonic weapon, split the air with an earsplitting noise. Dozens of corpses were torn apart in the air as they were struck by the whip’s oppressive strength.
When one mob fell, he broke down another wall. Another mob of avians appeared, and Cassandra shrieked to disassemble his enemies once again. Sungchul repeated this process ad nauseam. Finally he came across to what appeared to be the end to this seemingly neverending process. A square room rigged with a destructive magic appeared before him. He made quick work of all the avian corpses rushing toward him and stood before this room. A message of bright letters appeared before him.
[The Tomb of the Immortal King.]
[Spill the hot blood of the Nahak]
[Do, so and the King shall respond to your call]
Sungchul’s eyes trembled. It was because the tomb of the king was asking for the impossible. The Nahak were already extinct. There were no living Nahak left.
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