Chapter 159 – Hero’s Descendant (2)
The death throes of the monsters filled the night of the desert.
If the demonic beasts of Nirotacid were all gathered in a single herd, they might be able to put up a good fight against the Demon King. They possessed that much power. However, the Genesis Mermaids were able to gather and transfer their power into one being through the Race Command ability. On top of that, the member of the hero’s party had grown to such a level that each of them were walking calamities. When the hero’s party worked together with the Genesis Mermaids, the monsters couldn’t stand up against them.
“Let’s stack the corpses over there. Roa, you should eat those first.”
In the night, Artpe’s party had defeated over several hundred monsters. The stripping of the temple’s stealth magic was very effective. He had no idea where these monsters had been hiding, but a lot of monsters had rushed towards the temple. The monsters had attacked them in a blind rage, so every moment of the hunt was thrilling.
The monsters were all over level 360 and 370. If 10 monsters appeared all at once, it was overwhelming even for them. However, Artpe directed the merfolk to surround the monster, and Artpe’s party focused on killing one monster at a time. This method was good enough to kill all the monsters.
Of course, this method made them share EXP with the merfolk. From Artpe’s perspective, it was a good thing. The merfolk were getting stronger, so he didn’t minding sharing the EXP with them.
They fought until monsters no longer appeared. At that point, there were no monsters left in the desert.
“There really are a lot of them stacked here.”
“Now I understand why the Demon race didn’t step into this place…. However, I didn’t want to find out this truth with my body!”
“Calm down, Elrick. If not, you won’t grow taller.”
“I’ll kill you!”
The sun rose over the Demon realm right on time. The oppressive heat evaporated the blood of the monsters, which had soaked into the desert. The evaporated blood rose into the air to form red clouds in the sky. It was quite the sight.
“I raised 5 levels in one night….. Hoo. My sinews and joints hurt.”
“I think there’s no more monsters here, Artpe.”
“They’ll respawn in no time. Actually, they would if Roa wasn’t here.”
The corpses of monsters were returned to nature, and nature supplemented their Records. From these Records, new monsters would be born once again. If one wanted to slow down that process, one had to do what Roa was doing right now. One had to completely consume all the Demonic energy within the corpses.
[Nyaa nyaa nyaa, nyaa nyaa-ah nyaa-ah-ah.]
Roa’s two tails were swaying from happiness as she sucked out all the Demonic energy. Artpe was watching Roa eat without thinking too deeply about it. However, his eyes widened soon.
“Hey, where in the hell did you get an extra tail?”
It seemed she had been successful in digesting the Evil Heart through her normal process, and she had grown another tail as a result. From what he could see through his Read All Creation ability, she looked fine, but….
“The battle is done! Everyone rest!”
“Please make us stew again!”
“Holy priestess, stew!”
“Ah. The stew is supposed to be for Artpe-nim…. It can’t be helped. Please wash your hands and help me.”
At some point, Vadinet had become captive to her stew. The merfolk kept begging Vadinet for more stew. She reclaimed the pots that been eaten clean yesterday night. She started to make a new batch of stew. She was used to being in the hero’s party now. Cooking right after battle didn’t bother her at all!
“Artpe-nim, you worked through the night. You must be hungry.”
“Yes, please make some too.”
After the battle ended, the merfolk camped in a similar fashion as last night. After he looked over them, he turned away.
Did those inside give up on using the temple’s stealth magic?
The temple remained boldly in sight under the sun of the Demon realm.
“Ah. You should make some stew for those inside too.”
“Yes. Understood. Please go finish your business with them. I’ll have your food ready when you get back.”
“Thank you, Vadinet.”
The only thing that was different from before was the fact that three humans were standing in front of the temple. One of them was Maetel’s father, Promes.
“As expected, the heroes are reliable. I was worried, because I thought the heroes had overestimated their abilities······.”
“I still think it was unreasonable for them to strip the temple’s stealth magic. If anything went wrong, a calamity that couldn’t be compared to the Demon King would have descended on this land!”
There was a man that was of similar age as Promes. The other was a very old lady. He was sure that the granny had sent the telepathic message from within the temple.
Both of them possessed similar level as Promes. It was also apparent that all of them had stepped onto the path of magic.
“If you want to insult me, you should do it to my face, you old hag.”
“The monsters won’t bother you for the near future. That is why I would like an explanation.”
Artpe spread his Mana Strings in all direction, and he put them on alert. Then he walked towards the three figures. Roa had absorbed all the Demonic energy from the corpses of monsters stacked nearby. She quickly climbed atop Artpe’s shoulder. It seemed she really wanted to eat the item within the temple.
“What are you doing here? Did you perhaps predict that Maetel and I would become heroes?”
At Artpe’s words, Promes let out a bitter laughter as he shook his head from side to side.
“Anyways, this won’t be a short story. Please enter. Just you and Maetel…. No, you can come in with the comrades you trust.”
“······let’s do that.”
Vadinet was too busy making stew for everyone. He took everyone except Vadinet into the temple. When they entered the temple, the inside looked surprisingly similar to the architecture of the great temple of Paladia.
“You noticed it. When you guys came with the holy priestess, I knew it to be true. You guys visited Paladia?”
“Paladia······ It must mean…..”
He had already been pretty sure of it, but it was a certainty now. Artpe mumbled to himself in a low voice. They arrived at a room that was hidden behind several layers of barrier. Artpe let out a sigh when he saw it.
“You can open it. There are no monsters left in Nirotacid. No one willl seek out the contents of this room.”
“Still, your actions were too reckless!”
As if to prove that she was an old hag, the old lady spoke up once again to nag. Artpe ignored her as he opened the door to the room. It was a very small space where only couple people could fit inside. There was a small altar there.
“Oppa, look at that!”
It was a very familiar looking altar.
“As expected, it is the work of sunbae-nim!”
“Mmmm? You know about our family’s ancestor?”
Promes continued to speak.
Artpe should have known. He let out a sigh as he nodded his head.
“If you are talking about the hero of the previous generation, we came across a lot of his work on our way here.”
“Oh oh. As expected of the exalted one, he made preparations for his juniors….”
“Shut up, you old hag.”
“Y…you called me a hag again!”
They had suffered a lot thanks to that damned sunbae. He couldn’t let go of his anger.
As soon as Roa saw the item atop the altar, she tried to jump towards it. Artpe grabbed her. He slowly walked towards the altar.
The three people, who had resided in the temple, flinched for a brief moment. However, they didn’t stop him. They remembered the power he had displayed. They weren’t capable of stopping him.
“We were right······ It is another Evil Heart.”
“That’s right. Our ancestor called it the Evil Heart. When both of you reached this place, I was going to tell you all about it. It seems you have learned much already.”
“You can still tell me about it.”
“Huht! Don’t be so rash in touching that······!?”
Artpe spoke in a resolute manner as he picked up the Evil Heart. The Demonic energy tried to invade his body, but the magic tome hanging off his belt let out a faint light. The Demonic energy was purified, and it turned into pure magical energy.
“How can this be······.”
[Nyaa nyaa-ah. Nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaaa!]
“Wait a little bit, you dork.”
As Artpe increased in level, the magic tome had also gotten stronger. It was a Demonic energy antagonist. The magic tome’s ability had changed from the time when he found the Evil Heart in the underground world.
When the three spectators saw Artpe neutralize the Demonic energy, they became dumbstruck. Fortunately, Promes quickly broke out of his stupor.
“You have a reason for being so confident.”
“Let’s talk now.”
Artpe kept moving the Evil Heart in front of Roa. He played with Roa, who was in Maetel’s arms. As he did so, he opened his mouth to ask a question.
“Are you guys protecting this place, because your ancestor tasked his descendants with that job?”
“Yes. That’s right. When members of our family reaches adulthood, they have to come to the Demon realm. We have to go through with our duty of protecting the temple and the Evil Heart. This man is my cousin, and she is my aunt.”
It was a family occupation that had been passed down for several hundred years. Who would have thought that the descendants of the hero were living within the forbidden zone of the Demon realm?! Artpe was baffled by it, so he became argumentative.
“If you planned on doing that, you should have just lived inside here! You should have had your offsprings here!”
“It is part of our family’s custom. Our ancestor decreed that his descendants should experience both the human realm and the Demon realm. That is why we reside in our ancestor’s hometown during our childhood. Around our adulthood, we leave behind a progeny, then we wander around the human realm to train. After acquiring enough power needed to protect the temple, we enter into the Demon realm.”
It seemed such a way of life was a good way to mess up the personality of one’s descendants.
“If Maetel didn’t become a hero, she would have been next in line to take over this task.”
“Our mission is to make sure that the Demon King and other beings don’t acquire the Evil Heart. It especially cannot fall into the hands of the Demon King. You probably witnessed it, Artpe. This item is extremely dangerous. Even if you have the ability to purify the Demonic energy, you shouldn’t stay near it for an extended amount of time.”
At Promes’ words, Artpe readily nodded his head. They hadn’t met each other in a long time. Promes didn’t exist in Artpe’s memories, but it seemed Promes was genuinely worried for Artpe. He wasn’t faking it.
“Similar words are written here.”
On all the altars found by Artpe and Maetel, the previous generation’s hero boasted about himself to his juniors. He wrote down what he had prepared for his juniors, then he made a big show of himself. He asked for their gratitude.
Of course, this altar was also full of boastings. Aside from that, the previous hero had written down words for his descendants. It didn’t deviate too much from what Promes had told them. Artpe didn’t really need to read the content of those words.
The only knowledge that was missing from Promes’ party was the fact that the Evil Heart wasn’t whole. The Evil Heart had been made into a pair. The Evil Heart from the underground world had to be combined with this Evil Heart to make it whole.
Since sunbae had been wary of the power within the Evil Heart, he had split it into two. He had sealed it in two locations that was considered to be the end of the world!
“While we were carrying out the task of protecting this temple, we felt the unrest in the Demon realm. We realized the Demon King of this generation was about to move in earnest. That is why I exited the Demon realm through a secret path to reach the human realm. By that time, the news about Maetel and Artpe being heroes had been spread across the continent.”
“And when we came home, we read the letter left behind by you.”
“That’s right. I knew you would return to your birthplace someday, so I put the message in a form that could only be read by heroes. Since we are the hero’s family, we are able to learn this special skill. Aside from that message, I put in place couple other contingency plans. However, it seems you guys searched me out after seeing that message.”
Maetel’s father had used a skill that can be used by the kin of a hero. Artpe had already guessed all of this after he saw the message within his hut. That was why he had been a bit keyed up. However, when he arrived here, he realized that these people only had the ability to act as messengers for the hero. Their abilities were very limited.
In truth, it was a bit of a letdown.
‘I thought something had changed from my past life, but it remains the same. Maetel’s father had faked his death to enter into the Demon realm. He had been protecting the temple. Since no one entered into Nirotacid, even the Demon King didn’t know that the Evil Heart was here. Even after my death in my previous life, the Demon King wasn’t able to use the Evil Heart….’
He didn’t care what happened after his death in his previous life. In his current life, everything had converged. In an extremely rare event, everything had resolved without loose ends. This wasn’t a new variable that had existed in his past life. Artpe just learned a truth that he hadn’t known about in his past life.
“Do you still plan on protecting the Evil Heart here?”
“I do. Ah, that’s right. I asked you guys to come here, because…. I wanted you guys to have a small break here.”
“You wanted us to take a break in this hellish environment?”
“You guys have been busy carrying out the duties of a hero, but in the process, you guys forgot something very important. It is more important than the tasks you have been carrying out. I just wanted to make sure to remind you of that task.”
For some reason, he suddenly felt a chill. He had no reason to be worried, yet he felt worried. Artpe instinctively gripped the Evil Heart harder, and he took a step backwards.
Maetel calmly approached Artpe, and she caught him.
“What is it, dad? Why did you call us here? What do you need us to do?”
“There is only one thing.”
Promes laughed. Artpe was ready to run. He had made up his mind, but it seemed Maetel caught wind of his intention. She firmly gripped his shoulder. As expected, she knew what was going on! There were stars in her eyes!
“Since we have no idea what will happen in the battle against the Demon King, I want you guys to have a kid before you leave this place.”
“Don’t agree to it!”
At an unlikely location, the deed that he didn’t believe would happen was about to occur here !