Chapter 145 – Connection (5)
Elrick and Sienna were sparring. It was 50 matches, and he had lost all 50 matches.
“Shit! You are filthy strong!”
“But Elrick is also strong!”
When Elrick took off his armor, the only one he could physically overpower in the party was Regina. However, Regina was a mage, so it was impossible to make a simple comparison using physical strength. In the end, Elrick thought Sienna was a worthy foe, since she was slightly taller than him. Moreover, they both wielded blunt weapons, so she was a good person to spar with.
“Why is there such a wide gulf between me and you?”
“Maybe, Elrick got too used to fighting with your armor on?”
Of course, Elrick’s armor was off right now. Before they departed for the surface, the Dwarves were working on Elrick’s equipments. This was obvious, but Sienna wasn’t wearing much equipment either right now. The two of them were wearing their casual clothes, and they were using the practice weapons provided by the Dwarves.
“We are fighting under similar condition….!”
“There’s the difference in level.”
Sienna had grown within the Winter Queen’s ruin, so she was able to catch up to Artpe and Maetel’s level. Basically, she was approaching level 310. There was a difference of 20 level between Elrick and her. In fact, it would have been odd if she lost to Elrick.
He was going to point out that she was a very young girl, but he desperately swallowed those words. He had suffered all his life, because people made judgements based only on his appearance. Therefore, he couldn’t voice such an opinion. Ability had nothing to do with appearance. It didn’t discriminate between age and sex.
“If I wore my armor….”
“Yes, you will become stronger if you wear your armor. However, you should get used to fighting without it. You don’t want to wear that armor for all your life.”
“Yes. That’s right. …..you are correct.”
Elrick wondered if Sienna was the smartest one within the hero’s party. She wasn’t just smart. She was really kind, and she never spoke any harsh words. If Vadinet hadn’t told Elrick that she was the holy priestess, he would have thought Sienna was the holy priestess.
“Let’s fight one more time! When your armor gets here, I’ll fight you again with your armor on.”
“······yes, let’s do that.”
······the way she laughed was also very cute. If Elrick was about the same age as her, he wondered if he would have fallen for her. Of course, he looked like he was the same age as her, but in truth, Elrick was in his late 20s. Even if he was being generous, he was basically the age of Sienna’s uncle.
“That is why it can’t happen….”
“Huh? What did you say, Elrick?”
“Ah. Nothing. I was just talking to myself.”
Elrick couldn’t face Sienna’s bright smile. He tilted his head away a bit as he spoke.
“Please feel free to call me Elrick oppa.”
“I don’t want to! The only oppa for me is Artpe oppa. Heh heh.”
“······ah. Ok. All right.”
Somehow, Elrick knew Artpe had a disposition of a troublemaker. He grumbled as he quietly raised the practice axe. Sienna mirrored his actions as she raised her battle hammer. There was a light smile on her face. It was cute, but it was aksi the smile of a scary grim reaper.
Four days passed from that point in time.
“Hoo. It is done.”
Artpe mumbled in satisfaction as he looked over the staff in front of him.
He had processed the World Tree’s branch using his Reinforcement skill three times. Then he connected the Demite Pipi to complete the battle staff. It had the function of strengthening his Mana, which would flow through the staff. It also had the emergency ability of creating a barrier. It was a staff with an all-round capability.
“You are synchronized with the Artifact. It is very fascinating. Artpe isn’t human?”
“Shut up, you dork.”
He had perfectly synchronized with the staff, so it wasn’t necessary for him to carry around the staff. He could just use Pipi’s magical energy, and the staff would float around him. Pipi was now capable of moving on its own, so it was having fun. It was letting out a brilliant light as it quickly revolved around Artpe. Regina clapped when she saw this. She asked him a question.
“Can we win against the Demon King?”
“If we have two more of this staff, we can create the universe.”
When Artpe and Regina exited the room, they caught sight of Maetel. She was wearing a red
armor, and she was armed from her ankle to her neck. She looked very fierce and beautiful.
“It seems the Dwarves also finished their work.”
“Yes! They are done packing too!”
“Ah. It’s oppa!”
Artpe wasn’t a magnet, yet when he was seen, girls started sticking to him in order. Maetel, Sienna and Vadinet were all clinging to his arms. They looked like some golem that was pieced together. Elrick automatically became troubled when he saw this.
“I’m slowly starting to see the identity of this party…. Are you sure I can really join this party?”
“You are the only one that can save me from this hell, Elrick.”
“Don’t say that. It’s gross.”
Artpe had waited for the day when another male would join the party. He could finally leave behind this chummy atmosphere! This was a step towards becoming a pure hero’s party! ······moreover, it would be great if Elrick could seduce Vadinet or Regina. If Elrick could seduce both of them, it would be much better.
“We are ready! Let’s head out!”
“We were immaculate in finishing your equipments. At the very least, your power will have increased by ten percent!”
There were 100 thousand Dwarves gathered in the square. It was a spectacular sight. When everyone was gathered, Artpe picked out a familiar looking Dwarf, and he asked the Dwarf some questions.
“So? How do we get to the surface? Why did you guys gather so many in this square?”
“We have to gather in the square to be able to go to the surface.”
A question mark formed above Artpe’s head. Elrick smiled when he saw this.
“You should pay close attention. This is the height of Dwarven engineering technology.”
“Engineering technology? It has a really ominous ring to it.”
The Dwarf’s command rang out, and Artpe had a bad feeling about this. Suddenly, the square shifted, and it started vibrating. Artpe mumbled to himself. There was no way the Dwarves would do that.
“It can’t be.”
“We’ve amassed enough Mana. It’ll be possible to raise a crowd of over 100,000 all at once!”
“All right! Let’s do this!”
He activated his Read All Creation, and he quickly looked over the entire square. In a flash, blood drained from Artpe’s face.
“No, let’s not do this!”
Dwarves had been dispatched to various locations in the square, and they all pulled on something that looked like a hose. It acted as a signal to commence. There was a black line bisecting the upper boundary of the square. A double layered barrier made out of Mana appeared on top, and it started stretching upward. It created an enormous barrier shaped like a hemisphere.
No, this barrier probably extended below the square. It wasn’t shaped like a hemisphere. It was correct to say that the barrier was shaped like a sphere.
“Ha ha ha…..”
Artpe had perfectly assessed the current situation. He guffawed as he sat on the ground. He quietly extended his Mana Strings to tie down his party.
“These Dwarves are crazy.”
“Artpe, why did youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!”
Maetel was puzzled by Artpe’s move, so she was about to ask him a question. In the next moment, the square was shot into the air. The square was made independently from the city. Instead of earth being underneath the tiles making up the square, a propulsion system was placed there! It shot the square into the air!
“This isn’t engineering technology! This is just brainlessly chucking us upwards!”
“We are going to break through the crust! Inject your Mana into the ‘ball’!”
“Inject the Mana!”
The Mana of the Dwarves were injected, and the outer double-layered barrier started spinning. Afterwards, they crashed into the ceiling! The more shocking part was the fact that the structures making up the ceiling clung to the barrier. It added their power to the barrier!
“Oh oh. The story told by our fathers were true!”
“We gained propulsion! Let’s go!”
“I never expected such a thing to be possible… As expected, our ancestors are amazing!”
“How can you guys enjoy this!”
Physical force and magical energy were added to the spinning barriers, and the earth couldn’t withstand against it. The spherical barrier was surrounding the square, and there was no resistance as it shot upwards!
“What happens if we lose propulsion and momentum? Won’t we just fall back!?”
“Don’t worry! Since the exit system was activated, an endless energy is formed by the square! We’ll keep rising!”
Artpe heard the shout from the confident Dwarf, so he decided to give up thinking about it. If the sphere showed signs of falling backwards, he would just teleport his party to the surface. He would only take his party members.
Strangely enough, the enormous ball that was shot upwards by the Dwarves were showing no signs of slowing down.
“How is this possible·····?”
“I told you before. The Dwarves know of a method to create Artifacts. This is a version of an Artifact.”
He had seen its true identity through his Read All Creation ability, but he was still having a hard time accepting the truth. There were things in the world that couldn’t be copied even if one knew the structure and logic behind it. It might be apt to say that this was an Innate ability possessed by an entire Dwarven race.
Artpe sighed as he raised his head. Pieces of metal had adhered to the pitch dark surface of the barrier, and they were rotating tirelessly.
The earth was split apart by the barrier, and after passing by the revolving barrier, the earth filled in the space behind them.
It sounded preposterous, but it was working. Therefore, he couldn’t say anything bad about it. Fortunately, it seemed there was no way the sphere would stop or fall backwards.
How much time had passed?
The Dwarves once again started to move again. They became active.
“It seems we are almost there.”
“I see. We are almost there.”
“Prepare the last propulsion!”
“Everyone move quickly! Hurry up and inject your Mana!”
Elrick’s voice contained fervent desire. It seemed Artpe understood Elrick’s feeling. He smirked as he fastened his party members once again by adding more Mana into his Mana Strings. Intense light covered the entire square!
“Stop being such a baby! The barrier has an option that stops the light from blinding you guys!”
“Still, the outside world is bright!”
The Dwarves had been trapped underground for couple hundred years. Instead of artificial light, they were faced with the natural sunlight. Their eyes were dazzled, and they were deeply moved by the experience. They started crying. Artpe hadn’t seen the sun for couple days, so his eyes stung too.
“If you guys are ready, cancel the barrier!”
“Let’s quickly cancel it before humans gather here! Where are we?”
“Diaz! We are in the mountainous region of Diaz. No one actually comes here, so you don’t to be worried! Just cancel the barrier!”
The Dwarves moved busily as they focused on canceling the barrier. Artpe was blankly looking at the Dwarves work when he finally realized something. His surrounding looked oddly familiar. Didn’t Elrick just say that they were in the mountainous region of Diaz…..?
“That means…. This place is…”
Maetel was also a bit late in realizing this fact. Soon, their gazes were planted on Elrick. Elrick hesitated for a brief moment, and he acknowledged their suspicion.
“Yes. That’s right. ….this place is your birthplace”
The two heroes hadn’t meant for this to happen, but in that moment, they had returned home.