The Star of Annihilation
Chapter 73 – Wall (2)
Written by : Eleven
* * *
As Roy was sleeping, there was one individual who came to visit him later on the next day in the night.
Mathilde, who had learned late of just what had happened and the details of it, was ridden with worry as she looked at the figure of her sleeping son.
There were a lot of things that were on Mathilde’s mind, but the biggest was regret.
It was not a regret towards teaching Roy magic, or for sending him to Titanius.
No, it was not like that. It wasn’t that she even regretted letting her child have a fairly large amount of independence despite being so young.
‘Why did I have to push Thomas like that back then….’
It was regret towards something that had happened years ago.
Back when her husband was still alive and in this world.
That decision to explore those ruins had brought so much pain and strife for Mathilde.
The repercussions of that decision were still present and growing as the beings that attacked them in the dungeon were now here and attacking her only son.
Mathilde closed her eyes as she recalled the events that had happened
* * *
Back in the past….
“On the left!”
An arrow whizzed by Verdante’s ear as he heard Spera’s shout.
The dungeon was not without monsters despite being so closed off for a long time. The proof of this was the pungent smell of goblin corpses that were strewn about in the passageways that the party had already passed and slain.
Spera’s light blonde hair was dyed with bits of red monster blood as she let out a sigh.
“This is difficult.”
“I know, but we’re almost there I think.”
Verdante consoled Spera as the group had not much rest since entering the dungeon. Although it was nothing but weak mobs, they had been moving without rest to reach the location where Ian had met his end.
Ian had seemingly come across the very edge of discovering a pathway where the ruins seemed to lead him towards the end of the dungeon.
The mucky walls dripped with a damp liquid that looked like water, but the group couldn’t help but feel claustrophobic in the thick smell of blood and lack of rest they had.
Thomas glanced at Mathilde to see how she was holding up, and she gave him a slight thumbs up after putting her hands on her knees to catch her breath.
Thomas pitied his wife who was following along in this dungeon expedition along with their child, Eden.
Eden was laying inside of the little pouch sack that they had made so that Mathilde could carry her while not having to use her arms.
The image of the sleeping baby was quite weird despite all the noise going around, but it was because Mathilde had cast a simple sleeping spell on Eden throughout the exploration.
Creeping up on the location, Verdante and the others all decided to take a five minute rest before they came upon the fork that they had seen in the memory orb.
It was time to choose.
Whether they would take the same path that Ian had taken and eventually lost his life, or not.
“We already decided to do this, didn’t we?”
Verdante smiled and looked around him.
It was a simple decision.
Ian was an Arch-mage, but he was alone.
Mages were weak in close combat, and his attackers had been so.
The party had two swordsmen that could block off the attacks so that their ranged support, which was the core of their attack: Spera, the 7-star Spirit Archer who could call upon the spirits and was a level higher than Ian.
Needless to say, they were confident in their prowess as a party despite the fact that Ian had failed.
Normal adventuring parties would never have the chance to have a 7-star Spirit Archer on their party composition unless they were S-Rank adventurers. But even their parties were too few in number.
“Everyone ready then?”
The various members of the group checked their equipment and prepared themselves as they started to tread down the path.
It was eerily quiet.
During the exploration, Spera had not been able to sense the monster’s presences with their mana signatures like one would normally be able to when hunting monsters.
That being said, they were expecting the same to happen if they happened to encounter the same attackers that Ian had faced.
As they came down the path, the group finally stopped as they came upon the point where Ian had met his end.
It was a tight pathway inside the dungeon, and the yellow moss and dirt on the ground had certainly faded since the time in the memory orb, but the stone walls of the dungeon had dark red stains on it, clearly from Ian’s bloody death.
Mathilde took a deep breath for air as she saw the dried blood on the walls.
Although she didn’t bat an eye in front of the monster corpses, she struggled to keep her composure when they found a pile of human bones; presumably Ian’s skeleton.
Thomas wordlessly looked at the skeleton and then turned his gaze towards Verdante.
“I was wondering something…”
Thomas began to speak as he looked at Verdante, his old comrade with suspicious eyes.
“Just how did you get the memory orb of this man?”
Up until that point, Verdante hadn’t spoken about the origins of the memory orb or how he received it. Thomas, in turn, had thought Verdante was just waiting for the appropriate time to tell them, but even now, Verdante was stuck with his words.
“I’m rather curious about that as well.”
Spera stepped up as she was noticing how Verdante seemed rather suspicious about it.
Verdante sighed as if he couldn’t help it.
“Look, this is going to sound fishy, so let’s make a quick mana contract really quick to prove that my words are true.”
Thomas narrowed his eyes but agreed nonetheless.
Even if this man was his comrade for several years and he trusted him a great amount, this information was rather important.
After the mana contract was finished being established through the magic circle in the air behind Verdante, Verdante spilled what he knew.
“I woke up with it.”
It was blunt and simple, but still confused the entire party.
“I woke up one day while exploring one of these connected ruins, and all of a sudden this memory orb appeared above a magic circle in one of the dungeon rooms.”
It sounded so ridiculous that it was hard to believe.
But the mana circle behind Verdante did not waver in the slightest.
If he had lied, the mana circle would have blared a sharp ringing noise.
‘Was there another party at play here?’
Thomas couldn’t help but feel like they were being led around the nose.
But before he could think about what to do about his thoughts, Thomas felt his skin tingle.
He wasn’t the only one in the party who had the same feeling.
Spera, who was incredibly adept with her senses, felt as if there were spiders crawling up her arms and legs.
Spera turned towards the group and everyone nodded while taking their weapons out.
Mathild quickly went in the far back to offer any basic healing or buff spells with what she could offer.
They just felt a massive surge of killing intent pour out at them from beyond the darkness.
Although normally killing intent would be followed by waves of mana from a standard opponent, they were in a place where none of them could feel a mana signature other than their own.
Oddly enough, no opponent came or emerged from the tunnel.
After a few minutes of waiting patiently and in complete anxiety…
“What was that?”
“….I think it was a warning.”
Verdante shook his head after he heard Thomas’ response to his question.
“A warning? But from what?”
“I think you know very well what that warning was for Verdante.”
Thomas responded bluntly as Verdante swallowed his saliva amidst the nervous tension that was still lingering in the group from the sudden onslaught of killing intent.
“What do you think Spera?”
Thomas turned to Spera.
Obviously they had come this far, and had several weeks and now months of preparation for this trip. Although they didn’t want to just turn around and leave empty-handed, Thomas asked Spera for her opinion.
She was essentially the safety net that Thomas was relying on for this.
Her judgement would be taken into account for any decisions when facing danger, but ultimately Thomas was going to leave if she showed even the slightest bit of hesitation in her answer.
That was how serious he was about keeping his family alive.
“I still believe it is safe for now. If it wasn’t, I’d be able to know through this little one right here.”
Spera pointed in the air and everyone looked to the area above her index finger.
Just as everyone was maintaining a confused expression, a light green figure seemingly appeared out of thin air.
Verdante and Thomas wore similar expressions as they both figured what the being was, but were surprised nonetheless.
“This is Ellie, a wind spirit I’ve contracted with.”
“Yeah… I think we get that but…”
“She is a wind spirit, so she can distort the wind around her to create an image of herself. That is if you’re wondering why you can see her.”
Spirits were normally invisible to the naked eye. Only people who were born with a natural affinity to spirits would be able to sometimes see them, and it was rare to have a spirit come out of the Spirit Realm in the first place.
Spera smirked as she continued.
“Her detection range is fairly short, but it can go up to about 20 meters in range all around us. Through her, I can detect things around us and their changes. Although this is a place where we can’t even feel the slightest ounce of mana for some reason, I figured this would be more than enough.”
Spera put her hands on her hips confidently and donned a triumphant expression, but Thomas felt worried still.
But seeing how Spera showed no hesitation in her answer, he decided that it was okay to keep moving.
Chapter 73 – Fin
Author notes : Hey guys, back from the long holidays and finally starting to find some time now with the start of school back in full swing. Also, I noticed there’s a problem when I copy/ paste my work from google drive onto the website making the text all funky :/ I think I found a way around it and I hope it’s a bit better!
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