Chapter 176 – Phoenix’s Daughter (3)
[We are getting closer. I’m sure she is alive. I can detect her moving a little bit.]
“As expected, she’s still alive.”
As they got closer to Glacia, the words spoke by the party members decreased. Ironically, the level of tension was higher than the time they attacked the Demon King’s castle.
“Are you guys getting nervous at the thought of fighting the former Demon King’s forces? You don’t have to worry too much about them. We won’t be pushed unless the previous Demon King makes his appearance. I don’t think the former Demon King is directly involved in this. If he is personally here, there’s no way Etna would be able to run away like she is doing right now.”
“Ooh ooh. The thought of that woman joining our party makes me very nervous······!”
“Is that really the problem you guys are worried about!?”
Maetel’s words sounded like a joke, but at the same time, it didn’t sound like a joke. At her words, everyone just nodded their heads. It seemed they weren’t worried about the upcoming fight at all. Artpe wondered if there had been a flaw in their training program. He seriously mulled over that question, but of course, there was no answer forthcoming.
“As expected, I should have killed her as soon as I met her.”
“You should consider yourself fortunate that she didn’t kill you, you dork.”
He wondered what Etna was thinking right now as she resided in Glacia? Artpe thought about it. Did the loyalty she had towards the current Demon King make her decline the former Demon King’s offer? He didn’t think that was the case. She probably didn’t want to fight, so she was on the run.. Still, it wasn’t entirely positive news for Artpe.
‘She doesn’t want to fight for the Demon King’s army. However, does she want to fight on the side of humanity? That is an entirely different question.’
She didn’t like a fight where blood was shed. Despite knowing this about her, could he really ask her to fight the Demon race? She was born into the Demon race, so maybe, the idea of fighting other Demons might sound worse to her. What if she becomes hostile towards him, because he asked her to fight? What if she joined the previous Demon King’s faction as a result? If something so idiotic happened…..
“There is no way she would have ill feelings towards Artpe, so you are being worried for nothing.”
“The probability of that woman becoming hostile towards you is lower than Artpe being the Demon King.”
“How the hell do you guys know what I’m thinking?”
Artpe glanced at Petra, who was still looking into his Artifact. Artpe had no idea what Petra was feeling, but he continued to maintain a calm visage through all of this.
“That is my party’s opinion.”
[Etna is a Demon. She will fulfill her duty and obligation.]
“Then why is she on the run? If she wants to full her duty and obligation to the Demon race, she would have joined up with the former Demon King’s faction.”
[That······ It is because she is loyal to the current Demon King.]
It was the most original bullshit Artpe had heard up until now. It seemed Petra also didn’t believe in what he was saying. He pivoted to another argument.
[We’ll find out once we ask for her opinion. That is the reason why I made a contract with you]
“The answer is already available to you.”
Artpe had no idea what Petra expected from Etna, but in the end, Petra will never have what he desired. Artpe let out a bitter laughter. Petra snorted.
Soon, the Steel horse containing the party arrived at the ice continent of Glacia. It still looked like an endless snow-cover field, but when Artpe looked at it through his Read All Creation ability, he realized Glacia wasn’t the same at all. Artpe instinctually realized what was happening to the ice continent, so he mumbled to himself.
“Is that woman dead?”
“No. In my opinion, this continent is dying.”
Regina spoke instead of Artpe.
“The north is normally cold. The reason being the Winter Queen slept in the north. Her presence made the north colder.”
“However, she handed her Record over to you.”
“The continent is reverting to its original state. This might be the reason why Etna remains alive.”
If the coldness from the Winter Queen had been maintained, Etna would have a hard time surviving within Glacia. However, the Winter Queen’s Record was given to Regina. Fortunately, Etna was able to hold out thanks to the loss of the Winter Queen’s presence.
Everything would turn out fine unless the entire continent melted away.
Artpe nodded his head as he activated his Read All Creation ability to its fullest extent. It wasn’t just about Etna’s location. The force of the previous Demon King was also here. He planned on killing them after searching them out.
“Artpe, are you done communicating with Silpennon?”
“Yes, I’m about done with that.”
“I don’t like it.”
Maetel always seemed to have anger burning in her heart towards Silpennon. Artpe stared at her as he suddenly asked her a question.
“Do you have something you want to ask me?”
“You said you will tell me about it when the time is right. I’ll wait for that time.”
“Is that so?”
‘In truth, aren’t you like Silpennon? Do you already know about everything?’
He wanted to throw those questions towards her, but he didn’t have the courage to follow through. It might be childish, but he wanted to continue enjoying her endless kindness.
“What about me, Artpe-nim?”
“This doesn’t involve you.”
“You are too much!?”
In his past life, Artpe had no history with Vadinet. This was why he felt untroubled when he looked at her. This was the same reason why he felt comfortable around Sienna. It was also why he sometimes played favorites with Sienna, and Maetel might have a vague idea he was doing this.
[We don’t have the time to be idling like this. The Artifact is starting to react more fiercely.]
Vadinet was miffed, so she was starting to hop around in place. Artpe had been soothing her when Petra clicked his tongue. He spoke towards Artpe. As a response, Artpe increased the speed of the Steel Horse, and he replied towards Petra.
“Didn’t we already anticipate most of this? We possess massive amount of magical energy, and we are all moving in the same group. Of course, the other side will detect us.”
[That is why we should hurry up. At the very least, we have to hear her answer before she dies.]
It was as if Petra was fixated on something. By observing his actions, he wondered if Petra was acting this way based solely on a sense of responsibility towards the Demon race. Or was it comradeship? Was it based on his love towards Etna? Maybe, it was an insight he discerned long time ago.
However, Petra’s face remained impassive. Artpe couldn’t read anything from his face, so he shrugged his shoulder.
“It isn’t enough to get an answer from her. We have to save her.”
[Her life force is so faint. She is as weak as she could be. She is a Demon, so I wonder what method you will use to save her. I look forward to seeing it.]
Petra mocked Artpe. It sounded as if Petra wanted Etna to die. That was the vibe he was giving off. It seemed all Demons were psychopaths. Artpe had been one of those Demons in his past life, yet he had such thoughts.
The Artifact was gradually reacting more fiercely. It was as Petra had said. Etna wasn’t in her normal condition. Despite this fact, she was continuing to move, and it was clear that she was alive.
Artpe let out an exclamation. A bright light was emitted from his eyes as he searched his surrounding.
“It seems they found Etna’s general location thanks to us. They are starting to move in earnest towards the direction we are traveling.”
“Are you able to check their overall power?”
“There is one at level 385. There are two hovering around level 370. Five of them are at the cusp of level 350.”
If Artpe was in his past life, these Demons were at a level that was comparable to him. He had been a Four Heavenly King! They couldn’t be the entirety of the previous Demon King’s forces. Still, it was excessive amount of force when one considered that they were here to capture a single Demon. He turned slightly pale at this fact.
“Alright. I’ll head towards them.”
When Maetel heard Artpe’s words, she didn’t hesitate. She made the declaration as she unsheathed her sword. Artpe was struck dumb. Maetel tilted her head in puzzlement as if to ask him what was wrong.
“Of course, Artpe and Roa received the most EXP last time. However, I also reached level 385 after killing that Demon not too long ago.”
“Will you really be ok?”
“Yes. I’m used to always fighting opponents higher in level than me. This time there are a little bit more of them, but I won’t lose to such lousy opponents. Even if I wanted to lose, I wouldn’t be able to lose to them.”
She didn’t intend to do it, but she always dropped memorable lines. He was really scared of this Maetel.
“No, that’s not all….”
“That woman will be incredibly happy to see Artpe, and Artpe can’t just leave her be. If I see that sight, I would want to kill that woman. That is why I’ll make myself scarce. That is why Artpe has to finish any skinship with her by the time I return.”
“You really never change······.”
After Maetel spoke, Regina stepped forward with her staff.
“Maybe, their goal isn’t solely to capture Etna. Their attention might shift from Etna to us.”
“What are you saying?”
“It means I’m going to go with Maetel. I have the answer they want.”
Regina’s eyes twinkled. He couldn’t find the common link between Etna and Regina. He tilted his head in confusion. Then he suddenly had a thought.
‘Now that I think about it, the previous Demon King’s faction gave Etna the information about the Winter Queen’s ruin. Maybe, they didn’t go through all of this, because they wanted to capture Etna. Maybe, they wanted Etna to clash against the Winter Queen, so the Winter Queen would be weakened. It would have allowed them to kill the Winter Queen······?’
Etna possessed the power of fire, so she would have weakened the entire ice contient. This was obvious, but the Winter Queen was synced with the ice continent. It would have also weakened the Winter Queen.
Even if one possessed great power and high level, one couldn’t replicate what Etna could do. Of course, Etna also became weakened as a price.
“The ice continent of Glacia is also part of this world. If they want to make this world into the Demon realm, they need to kill the ruler of Glacia.”
“That is an excellent deduction, Regina. So what does that have to do with you?”
“I have a feeling.”
She stuck to the back of Maetel, who was about to jump off the Steel Horse. She moved her lips slightly.
“I might be Glacia’s next ruler.”
The two girls quickly left the Steel Horse, and they started chasing down the previous Demon King’s forces. Petra was shaken by the words left behind by Regina. As always, Artpe ignored Petra.
“We’ll arrive soon..”
Artpe no longer needed to rely on Petra’s Artifact. Etna was meticulous in hiding herself, but Artpe could see where she was. Her location was something that could be discerned by an Artifact. Of course, Artpe’s Read All Creation could discern her location too.
[I can’t see her. I believe she is using a stealth spell that uses heat. As expected of Etna….]
“I can see her.”
Artpe’s eyes honed in on Etna. When she caught sight of the unidentifiable Steel Horse, she had firmly bitten her lips.
Two enormous fireball appeared in her hands. If someone else looked towards her, they would have seen the snowy-field suddenly melt away. One wouldn’t be able to see it, but one would feel a pillar of fire emerge into existence.
[I won’t go back!]
When the flame was about to wash over the Steel Horse, it clashed with Petra’s cold energy. The flames disappeared without much fight. Petra clicked his tongue when he saw this.
[As expected, she is dying.]
“Yes, I can see that.”
Artpe gave a short reply as he jumped off the Steel Horse. Petra was taken aback by Artpe’s unpredictable action. He followed after Artpe.
It was as if she was having a hard time believing in her own eyes. She mumbled to herself. As expected, her body wasn’t in its normal state. Until Artpe had revealed himself, she was unable to detect him. That was proof that she wasn’t ok right now.
When he landed on the ground, Etna was able to confirm that it was him. Etna raised her voice as she called out to him. There were tears welling up in her eyes. It was as if she was about to cry. Artpe finally realized something. Maybe, Etna had been under the false assumption that Artpe had died in the ruin.
Petra spoke to Etna in the language of the Demon race. Her eyes had been fixed on Artpe. She finally realized Petra was there too. When she saw him, her eyebrows furrowed.
“Yes. I sensed you first. The cold energy that I hate… Artpe, why did you come here with him….? D…did you decided to work with the Demon race?”
Artpe used Blink as he immediately arrived in front of Etna. She immediately tried to hug Artpe. However, she became guarded when she saw Petra arrive behind Artpe.
[Etna, I want to confirm something with you.]
As soon as Petra confirmed it was Etna, he abruptly spoke towards her. He spoke over her.
[Will you return to the Demon realm or are you going to be with this man?]
Etna’s eyes turned round. Petra kept staring at her as if he was trying to see through her. Artpe let out a sigh as if he felt sorry for Petra.
Ah. This was why this bastard was unpopular with the ladies.