Chapter 142 – Connection (2)
The party had misjudged the situation. Even if the Shadows of Sinners were putting up a stiff resistance, they assumed Roa would be able to easily quell the Abyss. It wasn’t like that at all.
“She didn’t even leave a seed behind. She killed them all.”
“I guess we really didn’t need to come in here, Artpe.”
It was inadequate to say that Roa had easily quelled the Abyss. She had cleared the Abyss with such ferocity that no monsters would form in the future!
[Nyaa nyaa nyaa-ahhhhhhhhhh!]
“The overpowering energy and shrieks that could be felt from the entrance…..”
“I think the Shadows are trying merge into a single being.”
It might be a case where a great number of Shadows were trying to merge into one. At a glance, it was apparent that the Shadows of Sinners didn’t have a set form. They were closer in nature to being Mana rather than having physical substance. This was why he wondered if the Shadows were capable of merging. Artpe felt uneasy, and this was the only hypothesis that he could come up with.
“It is easily over level 300. It might be too much for me if I face it alone.”
“At the very least, it is much stronger than the Ancient Kraken..”
The Dwarves had once referred to it as a big bastard. Artpe turned to look at Elrick. As if he knew what Artpe was asking about, Elrick nodded his head. The others couldn’t see it, but Artpe could see the little guy nod his head inside the armor. It was quite cute.
“It is as you’ve surmised. Under a special condition, the Shadows of Sinners can combine. It allows them to grow their size and magical energy. The Dwarves call it the big bastard. It usually appears when our side gains a little bit of an upperhand. This is why we never pushed for an outright victory. We always maintain a narrow margin of victory.”
“When we first appeared, we killed them all before they could combine.”
“You guys did something really tremendous and unexpected.”
Elrick had been confident in his own skills, yet he never was able to beat the Shadows with such overwhelming force. When Artpe smirked at him, Elrick became a bit angry. He tightened his grip on his axe.
“You’ll regret strengthening my armor, Artpe. In the near future, I will become the strongest in this party.”
“Are you for real? It’ll be very hard. Hang in there.”
If Elrick really did become the strongest within their party, it wouldn’t matter if there were two Demon Kings. Five Demon Kings could show up, and it wouldn’t be a problem. Artpe was thinking about such nonsense as he guided his party deeper into the pit.
“There isn’t even a small fry left. It is immaculate. It is as if holy power was used to purify this place…..”
“Purification changes Demonic energy into regular Mana or blessed Mana. On the other hand, Roa’s Gluttony is…. It is as it sounds. She eats everything. Her Gluttony isn’t some convenient ability.”
“Where did you acquire such a monster? She doesn’t sound well-suited to be a familiar of a hero.”
“It just happened.”
If he thought about it, he acquired Roa from the hero development Dungeon, and the item had been provided by his sunbae. Of course, at the time, it hadn’t been clear that something would be born from within the item. There was no way sunbae-nim could have predicted that he would have been able to hatch the item.
“The energy is getting stronger. Artpe, let’s hurry up.”
If one wanted to be technical about it, the Abyss had a similar structure to the Ancient Temple. The Dungeon was structured in a way that it was making a big magic circle. Its aim was to make it difficult for anything inside to escape the Dungeon. This strengthened his hypothesis that there was some legacy of the previous hero left behind inside the Abyss.
Aside from those similarity, the situation was different in many respects compared to what they faced in the Ancient temple. Since this Dungeon was underground, it might have caused the seal’s power to loosen. On the other hand, the seal wouldn’t have held up even if the initial power level of the seal had been maintained. The Shadows of Sinners were multiplying so fast that the components making up the seal couldn’t withstand it. Parts of the seal were broken, and Shadows started leaking out of the abyss.
“The spell placed over the Abyss is weakening, and the number of Shadows of Sinners keeps increasing…. On top of that, the rate had accelerated at some point in time.”
The Shadows of Sinners possessed and reacted to Demonic energy. By knowing their special property, it wasn’t difficult to pinpoint when the acceleration had occurred. It was when the Demon King’s army started to work in earnest within the human realm. Their Demonic energy started to mix into the Mana of the human realm.
‘The Winter Queen probably knew about all of this. There is the Demonic energy, the Dwarves, the previous hero and the warrior of the hero’s party from our previous lives… A lot of teeth of a saw blade became stuck in this one place.’
Artpe let out a bitter laughter as he moved his feet. He had a good idea where the battle was occurring. He could sense an absurdly dense Demonic energy gathered in one location, and an enormous amount of magical energy that was trying to suppress it. Then there was Roa. He could sense her Mana, and she was going crazy trying to eat everything.
“Let’s travel the remaining distance in one go!”
“W…what the hell? Why are they all hugging you!”
Artpe repeatedly told his party members that only a part of their body had to be in contact. However, his party members were terrible at listening to him. When one looked at the sight, it looked as if they had left behind any tension above ground. Elrick was seriously thinking about whether he had to hug Artpe or not. Artpe just grabbed Elrick’s armor, then he used Blink.
In a blink of an eye, they were at the heart of the Abyss. When they heard Roa’s loud roar, they turned around to look for her. Artpe’s eyes widened.
“Roa became an enormous cat!?”
Her roar was as cute as ever, but her black and sleek body had grown several dozen times larger. She was filling up the large space!
If she was in her black fog form, her size wouldn’t have surprised him. However, she was in her true form! An enormous monster was attacking her from the other side, and Roa was engaged in a hand to paw combat. It seemed this was truly her form now.
“Roa is biiiiiiiig!”
“It seems she went over level 300 in this Dungeon…..”
The Shadows were high in level, and they possessed denser Demonic energy than Demons. Roa had eaten a Dungeon filled with these Shadows, so her growth was understandable. The Winter Queen’s ruin had strengthened Artpe’s party. The Abyss had advanced Roa’s growth.
“However, will she be able to win against it? Of all the Shadows I’ve seen until now, that one is the biggest of them all. Moreover, its energy is dense…..”
“When I first saw the fight, I thought about assisting her, but……”
Artpe watched Roa, who was in a fierce fight with the enemy. He grinned. The Demonic energy making up the enormous Shadow of Sinners was being drained into Roa even now. The Shadow was probably much bigger in the beginning.
“This is a fight that Roa will win. It is inevitable. Let’s just leave it to her. She’ll defeat it. Instead, there is something else we have to do.”
Artpe stretched out his Mana Strings into his surrounding. The Shadow reacted in a very sensitive manner, but it couldn’t do anything when faced with Roa’s fierce attacks. It had no choice but to focus its attention on Roa. Artpe hummed as he used this opportunity to expand his Mana Strings to the interior of the massive space.
His eyes could see the structure of this space. There were hidden traps, and rewards that would be given to the great challenger. At this point, Artpe was sure that the Abyss was created by the previous generation’s hero.
“It seems the Abyss was created before the Ancient temple. At the time of this Dungeon’s creation, sunbae-nim’s skill level was quite shitty. First, he made it so that this place couldn’t be approached without defeating the monsters…..”
Any magic became powerless in front of someone that could use a higher level of magic. The hero, at the time of the creation of this Dungeon, was worse than the current Artpe. As a result, the magic circle making up the core of the Abyss started to let out a light. It reacted when the Mana Strings passed by it.
“Artpe, if you reveal everything like this…..”
“The Abyss will be gone soon. I’m am currently pulling out its roots.”
In other words, the Abyss wasn’t created to jail the Shadows of Sinners. It was sealing ‘something’ that was continuously emitting Demonic energy. However, the excessive Demonic had coalesced over time, and it had created beings of sentience. It had turned into the Ancient Evil Spirits. They were the Shadows of Sinners.
“Artpe, does it mean something of sentience can be created by lumping Mana together?”
“There is a theory that states that monsters are formed in such a way. The problem is one doesn’t know if the being born is a monster or a spirit. In this case, the monster created was halfway between a Demon and a spirit.”
The summary was this. Artpe couldn’t discern what it was, but this unknown substance was letting out a ridiculous amount of Demonic energy. The previous hero had considered this substance to be a danger to the world, so he had buried it within the Abyss. Then he asked the Dwarves to guard it.
“Moreover, I’m about to take it out now.”
“If someone saw this, one would think you were the Demon king.”
In truth, an item of this caliber entering into the hands of the Demon King would be very dangerous. He wondered if this was part of the reason why the Winter Queen had sent them this way. In fact, did the other Four Heavenly King visit the Winter Queen with this item as his goal?
‘If I start thinking about all the possibilities, it’ll be endless. Let’s solve this first before I think about all the ramifications.’
Artpe’s Mana simultaneously touched various locations of the ruin, and it started to undergo a change. A small quake was felt as one part of the floor started to shake. Something started to rise up very slowly. The monster, who was in a fierce battle with Roa, realized what was happening. Suddenly, its body expanded, and it started to roar in excitement. It lost half of its face when Roa swiped it with her paw.
[Nyaa nyaa, nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa!]
The earth shook harder. The item buried deep within the Abyss was coming up faster, and it caused the ground to shake. The thickness of the Demonic energy deepened, and it made it hard for the party members to breathe. When she realized this, Vadinet raised her staff, and she shouted with a sonorous voice.
“Thank you, Vadinet.”
“Be careful, Artpe-nim. I’ve never felt evil energy of this magnitude. It is worse than the woman that called herself a Four Heavenly King….”
“It is merely an inanimate object that can’t do anything by itself. You don’t have to worry.”
However, if Roa wasn’t present, Artpe would’t have even dared to take this item out from ground. It was that great of an item.
It’s true form hadn’t been revealed yet, but the energy that could be felt was too horrific. It made one want to hurl. It was as if they’ve been thrown into the atmosphere of the Demon world. Where the heck did this damn sunbae-nim find such an item?
“Roa, I want you keep it occupied”
Roa answered in an energetic manner. Roa had become bigger than the monster. Her body was continuously stealing its Demonic energy, and the monster was becoming smaller in size.
“It’s done. It is coming out. I’ll leave it to you, Vadinet!”
“Please leave it to me, Artpe-nim! Hoo-ooh······ Sanctuary!”
She was in sync with Artpe. When he gave a shout, Vadinet’s eyes started to let out a golden light. It was a skill that only a holy priestess could use! It allowed her to blanket a certain region with holy energy.
Afterwards, a small hole formed on the ground, and a very small ball of steel shot outwards. It was the core of the Abyss! Even Vadinet’s Sanctuary couldn’t purify all the Demonic energy. A massive amount of Demonic energy was spreading to the surrounding. If the Sanctuary hadn’t been put in place, countless new Shadows would have formed!
[Nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa!]
“Ooh-aht. They are getting excited!”
Artpe quickly grabbed the item, and he put it within his Dimensional pouch. Afterwards, a very familiar looking altar suddenly popped up from the ground.
“What the heck? There is no Spell Book or Skill Book.”
“Do you think sunbae-nim was shittier at this point in his life, Artpe?”
“Maete, you are smart······?”
At Maetel’s unexpectedly intelligent point, Artpe nodded his head. He approached the altar. Instead of a Skill book and a Spell book, the sunbae hero had written more words on the altar.
This was the first sentence written on the altar.
“We cannot win······ What?”
The words were unbefitting of a hero. It was a declaration of defeat.