Published at 18th of November 2020 07:24:54 PM
They were behind a large fallen stone pillar, which hid them from sight when viewed from the entrance of the room .
“Shall we wake him up now?”
When Jude nodded at her question that was said in a low voice, Cordelia immediately placed her hand on the fainted Kaplan’s forehead .
“ . ”
As soon as the spell was cast, Kaplan opened his eyes at once and gasped .
“Haaak! T-this is?! What about the snake? What about the monster?!”
“Jude and I defeated it . So please calm down . It’s safe here . ”
Cordelia gently smiled and spoke in a soft tone, and Kaplan gulped and nodded his head .
“Have you calmed down?”
“Yes, I’ve calmed down . Huuu, I’m fine . ”
Kaplan nodded as his cheeks lightly flushed, and Jude, who had been quietly watching, cut in .
“Ahem, ahem, Sir Kaplan . ”
“Jude . No, Sir Jude . ”
“You can just call me Jude . ”
“Then, Jude . ”
Kaplan was, for some unknown reason, fidgeting .
He wondered if Kaplan was bashful and enamored of Cordelia’s beautiful face which transcended race, but that was thoroughly Jude’s opinion . There seemed to be something else .
Cordelia asked as she tilted her head, and Kaplan tightly clenched his fists and breathed several times before he made a resolution .
He prostrated as if he had made a mistake and then said .
“It’s all my fault . ”
The moment they came down to the underground, they met a powerful monster .
Furthermore, it was Kaplan himself who found the way down to the underground .
Cordelia smiled and said that they defeated it, but it must not have been easy .
She might not know it, but it must have been a life-threatening fight .
“I’m really sorry . I’m really, really sorry . ”
All of this happened because of Kaplan himself .
Because these things always happened wherever Kaplan goes .
As he desperately apologized, Kaplan thought .
What would happen if even Cordelia and Jude hate him?
No matter how kind-hearted the two were like angels, in the end, the two were still humans .
‘It might be better to go on separate ways like this . ’
He thought that he wouldn’t be able to stand it if Cordelia told him that she didn’t want to accompany him anymore, or that this was really Kaplan’s fault himself .
‘Let’s go on separate ways . ’
Let’s move separately .
It’s better that way .
It’s right to do so .
“It’s okay, Sir Kaplan . It’s not your fault . ”
Kaplan flinched . He had no choice but to flinch .
Cordelia’s voice was the same as before . No, it was rather become more kind than last time .
“Cordelia is right . ”
Jude helped raise Kaplan up and then looked at him straight into the eyes .
His eyes were full of fear .
Yet his eyes were like that of a child who had not given up hope for their kindness .
‘Is that it?’
Jude realized it now .
The Kaplan who appeared in the middle of Legend of Heroes 2 was always smiling, but he never allowed anyone to be near his heart .
Although it was possible to compel him to follow like stalking, it was impossible to make him a companion .
Because the wounds were repeated .
Because he had closed his heart due to not wanting to be hurt anymore .
He was a man who always pretended to be bright and had a false smile, but his insides were tormented, and he felt worthless and empty .
But not yet .
It was possible to change Kaplan’s future now .
‘Of course…it may be useless meddling but…’
But even so .
‘And one more . ’
Jude glanced back at Cordelia . Her gaze at Kaplan was full of sadness .
So he had to say it .
He had to protect Kaplan’s heart for Cordelia’s sake .
“Is Sir Kaplan a god?”
“You’re literally a god . ”
“That…like a god of disasters…”
“It’s not like that . A true god . Or someone with divine powers . ”
Kaplan shook his head at Jude’s serious question .
“No . ”
“Yes, Kaplan is just an ordinary dwarf . No, you’re special because you became a lifelong professor at the institutional academy at such a young age…but you’re still a dwarf . ”
It was not a disparaging remark .
It was an enumeration of facts .
“You are not god . You may have bad luck, but that’s it . Does Sir Kaplan create monsters? Can you create and summon monsters that do not exist? No, it’s not . That’s impossible . Sir Kaplan is not a god but a dwarf . You just ran into the monsters who were originally there . ”
Kaplan bit his lips . A faint smile was drawn on Jude’s face .
“It’s not Sir Kaplan’s fault . Saying that it’s Kaplan’s fault…that’s rather arrogant . Who is Sir Kaplan? He’s just a dwarf with moist and attractive eyes . ”
Kaplan’s eyes turned red at Jude’s words .
It wasn’t much, but Jude had told him the words he really wanted to hear and what no one else had said .
“So don’t apologize anymore . Okay?”
“Okay…I understand . ”
Kaplan sniffled and replied before he eventually broke down in tears, and Jude patted Kaplan on the shoulder and turned to Cordelia .
‘Good job . ’
Cordelia gave a thumbs up and widely smiled, and Jude was satisfied . After patting Kaplan on the shoulder once again, a small smile formed on his face .
Cordelia’s smile was kept, but it was also because of his own feelings of satisfaction about something in his mind .
‘A complete happy ending . ’
The best ending where everyone was happy .
Jude smiled again at the thought that came to his mind, and he waited for Kaplan’s crying to cease .
And a dozen minutes later…
“Are you fine now?”
“I’m fine . I’ve shown you something embarrassing . ”
“It’s okay, it’s just between us . ”
Cordelia mischievously laughed and said, and Kaplan began to be flustered as his cheeks reddened again, and Jude cut in for the second time .
“Ahem, ahem, anyway, Sir Kaplan . ”
“Yes, Jude . ”
“We plan to continue the exploration as it is . ”
Jude and Cordelia had yet to find any clues about Lena .
They absolutely couldn’t leave Endymion while that was the case .
But not for Kaplan .
“This is the second time we’ve encountered a monster from hell in Endymion . Perhaps there are a few more of those monsters roaming around Endymion . ”
It was a very dangerous place .
At Jude’s explanation, Kaplan gulped and nodded his head . Because he roughly understood what Jude was trying to say .
‘Let’s go back . ’
Because he would only be a burden if they went together .
“That’s why this is our selfish request from here on . Sir Kaplan, will you continue to explore with us?”
“It is as we had said . Cordelia and I belong to the academy, but we are still very inexperienced . It would be a great help if you could join us as a veteran archeologist, Sir Kaplan . ”
Jude wasn’t just talking with the Kaplan effect in mind .
Endymion was an area that did not even appear as a cinematic movie in Legend of the Heroes 2 .
Therefore, even if Jude and Cordelia were rotten waters, they would inevitably have difficulties in exploration .
Even if Jude was knowledgeable about stars, he knew little about archeology or exploring ruins .
But Kaplan was different .
Kaplan’s archeological knowledge and exploration experience would definitely be of great help .
“May I ask you a favor?”
“Please . ”
Kaplan immediately nodded when Cordelia spoke at the end .
Because it was the first time he was asked to continue the expedition together, despite already having an accident once .
‘No, that’s not all . ’
He wanted to be helpful to Jude and Cordelia .
He thought he could do anything for the two who were like angels that came down on earth .
“I’m not good enough, but I’ll be with you . I’ll try to help . ”
As Kaplan’s eyes burned with enthusiasm, Jude was satisfied, and Cordelia breathed a sigh of relief .
‘Fortunately, he didn’t lose his motivation . ’
‘You’re right . ’
In any case, Cordelia was kind .
After thinking about Cordelia again, Jude proceeded with the conversation .
“I’m thinking of going inside a little more . The map of Endymion that we found does not show this place, but I think it is roughly connected in this way when viewed on a larger scale . ”
Jude opened the map and talked, and Kaplan nodded with a very serious face, while Cordelia took a step back and began to look around .
Thinking was Jude’s role .
And in fact, Jude was thinking of several things at the same time .
One of them was the origin of the monsters from hell that began to appear in Endymion’s underground .
‘The most likely is a demon summoning . ’
Over a thousand years had already passed since Endymion’s destruction .
It was hard to think that the demons who had destroyed Endymion in the past would still have remained here .
‘If they were summoned, was it the Devil’s Eye?’
The Devil’s Eye were the only demon followers who were active in the wild lands .
But then, there was something that was a little strange .
Why did they summon the demon in Endymion?
Wouldn’t it have been better to do the summoning in the main camp or the land of the attacking wild gods?
A considerable sacrifice was needed for demon summoning, and sacrifices didn’t just rise from the ground .
In a larger scale, it was a commodity that was scarce after all .
‘What I can think of is the distinct characteristics of Endymion . ’
It was the land where the overlord of hell came down in the past . Maybe it was a land that had something advantageous for summoning demons .
‘The Devil’s Eye, the newly summoned demons, and Lena . ’
Lena fought to the death in Raptor Canyon, not Endymion .
Maybe she had a big fight against the Devil’s Eye and the demons in Endymion’s underground?
As a result she wiped out the demons in Endymion, but she was also seriously injured and ended up losing her life .
It was quite a plausible hypothesis, but in the end, it was only a hypothesis .
He had to move to confirm the truth .
“Let’s begin again . ”
They finished talking about the route while they were taking some rest .
“Go-go-go . ”
“I’ll take the lead . ”
Cordelia and Kaplan stood up from their spots and said, and Jude nodded his head .
Although Kaplan fainted in every battle, he was a man who had overcome many crises .
They were able to easily proceed while carefully not making any sounds .
Thus, thirty minutes passed .
Jude praised himself for his decision to join Kaplan .
Because Kaplan discovered a secret path that was hidden in the dead end .
“This way . ”
Since it was a secret door frequented by the slender elves, it was a little hard for Kaplan, whose body was shaped like a keg, but it was not to the point where he couldn’t pass through it .
“It seems like a real secret passage . It’s like a drama theatre . ”
As she whispered very small on Jude’s ear, Cordelia pointed at their feet .
There was a floor about seven meters down, and where the party was standing now was above the ceiling with holes on it .
Although it was a stone floor, it reminded Cordelia of the scaffolding that hang from the ceiling of the theatre .
‘I’ll keep going . ’
It was the moment when Kaplan expressed his intention using a hand signal instead of speaking as he began to take a step .
Cordelia hurriedly reached out to Kaplan and cast two spells, while Jude held his breath and focused his consciousness on his hearing .
They had heard footsteps .
Jude and Cordelia had become more sensitive to things happening on the ground than before, perhaps due to the Earth Protection .
‘Monsters . ’
It wasn’t one or two . There seemed to be about a dozen monsters like Lacto and Nazarus that were moving together .
It was more than they imagined .
Moreover, seeing the magic lights lit up everywhere, it was highly likely that they had been using this path for a long time .
‘Let’s wait . ’
The group let them pass by . No matter how strong Jude and Cordelia were, that number was too much .
Cordelia nodded at Jude’s eye signal .
Kaplan couldn’t move because he was paralyzed, but thanks to that, he was able to stay still .
They stood still like that .
They waited for the monsters to pass by…
A Nazarus suddenly shouted, and the Lactos wielded their whips at once .
It was right under their feet, so they didn’t even have time to react .
The ceiling collapsed .
Jude hurriedly flew with Kaplan in his arms after Cordelia cast magic .
It was impossible to go back the way they came from because of the Lacto’s whipping here and there .
Boom! Thud! Crash!
Debris fell and crashed onto the floor .
Because of that, some of the Nazaruses and Lactos were distracted as they avoided the falling rocks, and Jude and Cordelia used that opportunity .
An all-out battle was too much .
As soon as he touched the floor, Jude ran like a gale, and Cordelia repeatedly chanted spells right after casting several times .
She made the floor slippery .
She froze the air to make a thin wall of ice and made the floor rise to block the path .
However, all of these were just temporary measures .
The Lactos avoided the greased area by flying low, and then literally threw themselves to destroy the ice wall and the rising floor .
But it was not without effect .
To widen the distance even a little, Cordelia continued to cast spells . Jude ran while carrying Kaplan as he checked the surroundings .
‘It’s a place on the map!’
It was in his memory .
So he could imagine the path they should take .
She even mobilized the Spell’s Echo, and in an instant, four layers of stone walls were created .
Jude thought of an escape route, or to be exact, a route where they could get rid of those who were following them .
Because it was a path that forked into two, their pursuers would have to make a good choice .
But it was at that moment .
A sharp voice rang in their minds .
It was magic .
Who was it?
Where did it come from?
Cordelia figured it out through her instincts .
Jude turned his gaze, and at that moment, a stone wall that was much larger than Cordelia’s rose from the floor .
The stone wall that rose with a terrifying speed then crashed into the ceiling .
A succession of clouds that came from somewhere covered the stone wall .
It was the magic once again .
Cordelia ran, and Jude erased the map from his head .
Her beastly instinct was also an intuition, but she was a wizard . Her ability to feel and understand magic was far superior than that of Jude .
Loud noises came from their backs . At the same time, they also heard the roars of the monsters .
They had to hurry .
Jude looked straight ahead, and Cordelia pulled on Jude’s shoulder . Like that, he threw himself straight at the wall on his side .
It wasn’t the noise of an impact .
Instead of crashing into the wall, Jude and Cordelia went past through the wall and crashed into the floor .
Kaplan squawked as he fell on his stomach, and while protecting Cordelia in a hurry, or to be exact, Jude hugged her and put her on top of himself . Having succeeded in protecting her, Jude breathed a sigh of relief .
And above such Jude’s chest, Cordelia raised her head and swallowed her breath .
She swiftly raised her upper body from Jude’s chest .
No, he understood .
Therefore, with Cordelia still on his chest, Jude turned his head and looked at the same place as her .
The reason why Cordelia swallowed her breath .
The person who made her cheeks blush in excitement .
“Lena . ”
A blonde woman with a gray hood over her head stood before their eyes .