Chapter 35 – Come to Think of It, I’m a Hero (3)
The Obsidian of Greed was originally an item used to gather power of curses. It was an ingredient used when making a more powerful curse.
This was an item for magicians who dealt in curses, and it was something they desperately wanted. It was representative of magic stones that couldn’t be made artificially.
‘Moreover, this one is Rank A. It means it can store a lot of curses.’
On the other hand, there was an obvious limitation to this item. If an item or a Mana had the property of a curse, it would all be absorbed into the stone. However, it was hard to do anything significant when the curse was already active.
A curse wasn’t like placing a load on a person’s shoulder. A portion of a person’s skin, bones, muscles, brain and heart went through subtle changes. These changes permeated into one’s entire being, and the change would become inextricably linked to one’s body.
This was why if one was rash in extracting the cursed Mana, the innate Mana within the subject would go on a rampage before killing the subject.
“If so…. Come, Aena. I’ll deal with you first.”
Of course, such limitations didn’t apply to Artpe, because he possessed a rare cheat ability called the Read All Creation ability!
If he concentrated, he could get a detailed information on the composition of plants or creatures. So how could extracting cursed Mana from affected regions be difficult for him!
“This might hurt a little bit. Endure it.”
“W…what? What did I do······.”
Artpe abruptly placed the Obsidian on Aena’s forehead. Afterwards, Aena’s body started to shake. The townspeople who had been watching this sight immediately stepped back in fright. Of course, Artpe didn’t pay any attention to them.
“I caught it.”
He was able to pinpoint the part of her weak innate magical energy that was being dyed black with the energy of the curse. After a precise extraction, he spoke to her.
“Still, your erodibility was very low, so you didn’t suffer as much.”
Aena was shaking from the pain as she asked him a question. She could immediately guess at what had happened, so her eyes opened wide.
Yes, she was sure her body hadn’t felt normal.
If one felt fine when one was being changed into a monster through a curse, that person would be the incredible one.
“Monster…Modification Curse….? Then my dongsaeng and the other children of the town…..”
“The children were rounded up by them, because of that reason. Of course, they are also the ones who placed the curse on you.”
The girl bit her lips in anger. A small smile appeared on Artpe’s lips when he saw this. Pain usually transferred into emotion. The curse had progressed to a mere 1%, yet for a brief moment when she raged……
“All right. You did very well.”
Artpe stepped back when he saw a slightly darker light within the Obsidian. He checked her with his Read All Creation ability, and not an ounce of curse energy was left behind. Aena blinked her eyes in wonder.
“My body feels light. I thought I had merely been tired and hungry…..”
“Did the unrest in your emotions lessen?”
Artpe impishly asked the question when it seemed he already knew the answer. Aena slightly nodded her head in confirmation. The townspeople who had been behind her started to crowd forward.
“W…will we change into monsters too, magician-nim?”
“I’m sorry, but could you perhaps heal us too…..”
When it came to their own well-being, they were quick to step forward. Artpe let out a bitter laugh as he shook his head.
“You guys are fine. It seems the curse was placed on children, who hadn’t matured completely yet. So the problem is with your offsprings.”
“T…then my daughter….!?”
“Curse….. A curse!”
“It’ll be fine if I’m able to find them quickly. You shouldn’t worry about them this early in the process.”
They had thought this was a simple matter of the soldiers capturing their sons and daughters. However, a Modification Curse had been placed on them! The complexion of the townspeople immediately darkened.
They were afraid of the sword carrying soldiers. However, they were more afraid of magic and curses. These were mysterious powers of unknown origin.
“What shall we do, magician-nim? We’ll do anything. If my child turns into a monster, I…….!”
“I beg of you! Please save my son!”
They were already very worried about their offsprings, but they found out there was a time limit to their rescue. The townspeople were agitated, and they went wild. If the soldiers were in front of them, they would have tried to rip them into pieces. Moreover, Maetel was also in a similar state of agitation.
“Let’s go right now, Artpe! I don’t know where the children of this tow is right now, but I’m sure the bad guys will do the same thing at different locations!”
“It is as you say. We don’t know where they are, so do you really want to search the entire region?”
“Still, we have to do something!”
In truth, old stories and legends about heroes were rife with such scenarios.
Some town would fall into crisis, and the hero would try to solve a problem with the help of the townspeople. However, a tragedy occurred when time ran out, and the hero would receive a big emotional burden. However, the pain of this event would allow the hero to mature mentally.
“However, we don’t need to mature mentally, so we can skip that step.”
Heroes who busily ran around deserts and jungles, while crying or laughing, were old news to him. Artpe couldn’t afford to waste his mental and physical energy like that.
What was so fun about searching everywhere, because one didn’t know location where the Quest had to be carried out! He was a new breed of hero where he would finish the Quest as soon as he received it!
“Everyone get out of my way.”
“Yes. Yes, sir!”
Several dozen Mana Threads turned into several hundred as they extended out from Artpe. In a flash, they exited the town to spread into the region.
Artpe looked as if he was standing still while he had his eyes closed. However, even those that didn’t know anything about Mana could feel a pressure coming from this strange energy, and the townspeople were unable to move. Maetel, who had a decent idea on what was going on, let out a sigh of relief.
“If you had such a simple solution, you should have told me in the first place.”
“Who said this was simple?”
He took out a Mana potion bottle, and he drank it. He focused on his control as he grumbled to himself.. The several hundred Mana Threads were spreading in all directions, and the radius of the search increased steadily. It increase to 500 meters, 1 kilometers, 2 kilometers and so on.
In his past life, he was level 350, so this would have been easy. However, it wasn’t easy at all right now! If it wasn’t for the Mana String spell that strengthened the Mana Thread to the extreme, it would have been impossible to attempt this move. He briefly had this thought when he learned it, but it was a very cheat-like spell.
‘Wait a moment. I could probably overlay my spell similarly to what Maetel did last time with her techniques……’
He wondered if his spell could be used in a more effective manner if he overlaid his perception skill on top of the Mana String.
Artpe immediately put his theory into action, and of course, it came back as a resounding success. He wondered if he was stealing and using Maetel’s talent for such a trivial matter. He had been afraid…. However, if he was to be truthful about it, he was thankful for it.
“Five kilometer. Ten kilometer…”
“Shall I lend you my Mana, Artpe?”
“You only have a modicum of Mana, so how.…..I found them.”
He was about to grumble towards Maetel when Artpe’s eyes opened wide.
The townspeople looked at him with nervous eyes. Aena looked at him with trust, since he had freed her body from the curse. Maetel was ready to charge any opponents waiting for them…..
Artpe spoke to them in a solemn manner.
“Let’s go create an epilogue.”
The place was located at a hill that was pretty far from the town. In other words, it was a great place to run into a Dungeon in the wild.
In this world, there were exactly two types of Dungeons. The first type was the sleeping Dungeons that waited for a hero to find it. The other type were Dungeons made by being that opposed the heroes. These Dungeons contained dangerous traps, super secret information or secret tests. These were Dungeons that had to be hidden away.
The common point of the two types of Dungeons was the fact that heroes eventually found it to loot their contents. The Dungeon in this hill would suffer the same fate.
“You guys don’t have to follow me.”
“You are helping us despite the dangers, so how can we stay behind…..”
“You guys will get in the way, so just hide somewhere nearby. Of course, it isn’t my responsibility if you die in the process.”
He was an ex-Four Heavenly King turned hero, so he was remorseless. He firmly got rid of nuisances that would get in the way of the Quest beforehand!
The townspeople became afraid when they realized there might be other dangers nearby. However, they couldn’t run away while leaving their children behind. They firmly held to their edged tools they had brought from their homes. They stood their ground.
“W…we will wait for you here. At the very least, we will greet our children from here!”
“Really? Aren’t you guys just scared by the fact that soldiers might attack your town again?”
“I…it isn’t like that!”
It seemed he hit the mark. Artpe smirked as he tried to enter into the cave located at the middle of the hill…..
“I want to go with you.”
“Ah. You again?”
Aena blocked their way. She held a branch in one hand. It was a weapon that even a goblin would have an easy time breaking.
“The children will be afraid if only magician-nim’s party enters. The children need at least one familiar face.”
“It isn’t as if your words don’t have merit, but you……”
She would be perfect for the part of a supporting cast who died midway in the story. Usually, the hero would rage at her death, and the boost provided by the emotion would lead the hero into victory.
In truth, the girl’s words were raising so many death flags that the stench coming from the death energy was unbearable. It wouldn’t be strange if she fell dead right now! At the same time, it was also likely that she would come back out unharmed, since the circumstances was a bit suspicious.
“I beg of you, magician-nim. I know these children the best. They are already afraid from being kidnapped by the soldiers. If the magician-nim’s party encounter the children in such a state, a large mistake may occur…….!”
She had put a lot of thought into this. At this point, he couldn’t turn turn her down. From that moment on, Artpe decided to give up on Aena’s life. Yes, if she’s meant to die, she would find a way to die eventually!
“All right. Your sacrifice will make it more likely that the children would be unharmed.”
“Why is my sacrifice the premise of the children being safe!?”
“Let’s go, Maetel. I’ll leave the fighting to you. When I tell you to stop, you have to stop.”
The party consisting of the two heroes and the Village Girl A left behind the townspeople. They charged into the cave. There was a very dark and dreary energy circulating within the cave. A curse was mixed into the Dungeon’s air. To be precise, it was curse meant to propagate a different spell.
“You must be enjoying it since there are a lot to eat, right?”
Artpe took out the Obsidian, and it sucked in all the curses. He never expected to find such a treasure within the normal town A at this point in time. This was a loss for the Demon King’s army!
“Yes. As expected, I think Artpe would become a good father. Ooh-hue-hue.”
Maetel watched Artpe fill the Obsidian with the curse. She looked on with satisfaction as she mumbled to herself. Aena wondered if she could trust these heroes that acted very strangely starting from the Dungeon’s entrance. She had these thoughts, but she also didn’t have much choice. She followed behind them.
When they entered a little bit deeper into the cave, the enemies soon appeared. The soldiers they had seen from the town was mixed in with a batch of soldiers they had never seen before.
The most important fact was that there was a magician wearing a hooded robe standing within their midst.
“Huht!? They are intruders. Intruders!”
“Be careful. He’s the mage I saw in town…..!”
“Magician? That brat is one?”
It seemed the soldiers didn’t feel any shame at being found out. They immediately got ready to attack. It meant they were fully aware of what they were doing, and they were prepared to kill to fulfill their goals.
At this point, he was sure that there was a connection between the archduke, the black magician and the Demon King’s army. Artpe was about to step forward as he grinded his teeth, but Maetel took one step forward before he was able to.
“You are making children into monsters….. It’s bad.”
Maetel’s emerald colored eyes flashed from anger. Artpe realized she had already finished judging who was good and evil.
This was the part where the hero and the villains confronted each other. The villains would lay out their twisted logic behind their actions as they mocked the hero.
The hero would become enraged, and they would fight. The bad guys liked to talk while fighting, so they would prattle on about the righteousness of their actions. They would try to justify their cause. The hero would get angry once again at their words. The Death Knight within the Dungeon meant to foster the heroes was a great example of this.
“Be quiet! Shut the hell up!”
However, the current situation was different. Maetel swung her bastard sword once before her enemies could pull their swords out or activate a spell. They all fell to the floor.
She hadn’t activated her Berserk. She wasn’t even using her Strike skill. It was a light attack that possessed not a single ounce of Mana.
They were completely wiped out. They didn’t even have the time to give their lines. The mage wasn’t able to call out the Black Flame Dragon sealed within its right arm!
Aena had depended on them, because she had seen the power of Artpe as a magician. However, when she saw the terrible sight created by Maetel, her face turned pale.
On the other hand, Maetel was the one who had created this terrible sight, yet it didn’t feel real to her. She tilted her head in confusion as she turned to speak to Artpe.
“They are too weak, Artpe.”
Artpe did a double take when he heard her words, but a smile soon broke out on his face. He nodded his head at her.
“It’s all right.”
Usually, a normal hero’s first quest was accompanied by failure and hardships. However, they had unintentionally leveled up as much as they could in the kingdom of Diaz. In other words….
“Since we are progressing towards part 2, this is normal.”
Maetel titled her head in puzzlement, but Artpe just smiled at her. While Aena was still in an utter state of confusion, the heroes went through the entire Dungeon.
No one could get in their way.