Chapter 77 - Is This Really Happening Again? (1)
[Koohk. This region is falling apart! Everyone run away! Activate the defensive magic!]
[Currently, the defensive magic….. It doesn’t work!? The defensive magic can’t be activated!]
[I knew it would be like this when they invaded us.]
[My god. All the Mana is being sucked into the temple!]
The ancient temple was accessible through the underwater tunnel that had been bore through the ocean floor. It was only accessible through the kingdom of the merfolks, so it was understandable as to why the true nature of this place hadn’t been revealed in his previous life.
The only problem right now was the fact that the merfolk were unable to take control of the situation. The situation was akin to a powder keg that could detonate at any moment, and it could put the entirety of the ocean in danger.
[What about the human party!?]
[They went in, but they haven’t returned. They might already be dead…..]
When Artpe arrived at the site, the situation had already digressed into the worst case scenario. Artpe pushed asided the merfolk as he approached the underground tunnel, which was letting out copious amount of evil energy.
[Get out of my way.]
[Huh. It’s the princess’ master······.]
[Shh! Be careful with your words!]
Maetel and Sienna had already entered the temple. The merfolk had stayed outside as guards. They were trying to make sure none of the creatures within the temple exited the temple. They were busily moving around setting up defensive measures that had been prepared beforehand in case of emergency. They tried to activate traps, but the temple was sucking in Mana from the surrounding. This was why none of their measures were working properly.
[What the hell is this? None of these are working properly. When were these made!]
[I...I just know that it has been over several hundred years.]
[Of course, they would become defunct after such a long period of time······. There is nothing you guys can accomplish by staying here. I want everyone to back off.]
The merfolk could only bite their lips when confronted with Artpe’s harsh order. Artpe clicked his tongue as he asked Roa a question.
“Can you eat all the Mana here?”
She didn't even reply to her master’s words. She immediately opened her mouth, and she started eating the energy within the temple. However, she was unable to eat all the energy being emitted by the temple. She could only absorb twisted energy, negative energy and energy with intense emotions infused within it.
Her efforts were enough to calm down the quakes occurring in this region. However, if the temple’s tunnel was left alone, it would bring down the Anaid kingdom. Artpe sighed as he put down Roa.
“We will go at full speed from now on. I want you to eat everything you are able to.”
Roa gave a fierce reply, and her body immediately changed into black fog. She charged into the tunnel. Of course, Artpe followed behind her.
This was obvious,but the ancient temple and the underwater tunnel was outside the influence of the Road of Mermaids. Artpe wasn’t good at swimming, However, he knew how to move through the water. He just had to activate the Hyper Rubbing within the water to cause a vibration!
“I’ll feed you everything within this temple, so don’t worry about it. However, we have to join up with our party before we can do that.”
As they traversed the tunnel, they encountered numerous corpses of monsters strewn about. It was terrifying, but these creatures looked to have originally been merfolks. They were just much larger in size than a normal merman, and they possessed magical energy that was dyed with evil.
“These merfolk weren’t part of the Anaid kingdom…. I see.”
There were two possibilities. Either they were combatants from elsewhere or they used to be part of the merfolk population. Maybe the ancient temple was sealed after the mermaid kingdom was established.
So who was the subject of this seal? Was it done by the merfolk that established this kingdom? Somehow, he had a hunch that this wasn’t the case. The scenario was a bit different, but it felt as if he had experienced something similar in the past….. Artpe was deep in thought, but Roa woke him up from his revery.
“Yes, yes. We’ll pick up the pace. Anyways, they seemed to have resolved everything really quickly. They just zoomed past this place.”
Artpe was well aware as to how strong Maetel and Sienna was. Still, he had been conservative in his judgement. He had traversed through the underwater tunnel, and by the time he arrived at the entrance of the ancient temple, he had seen the corpses of several hundred creatures. They were all high level monsters that exceeded level 210 or 220. This wasn’t something one could do, because one was strong. As expected, they could probably just charge towards the Demon world…..
Roa called Artpe once again. Artpe raised his head, and he took in the underwater landscape. He replied in a low voice.
“Yes, I see it too.”
[Nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa!]
There were truly large fragments of a boulder strewn about near the entrance to the temple. It seemed the boulder had acted as a seal for the temple. Artpe spoke to Roa, who was busy eating.
“You have to pick up everything, and you have to give it back to me later. All right?”
[Nyaa, nyaa nyaah······.]
She had been cheerfully eating everything, but he had asked her to throw up everything later. Those words really dampened Roa’s appetite. However, her master had already fed her truly delicious things before, so she had no choice She clicked her tongue as she ate the boulder that had sealed the temple. She didn’t leave a pebble behind. She ate everything.
“You ate it all? Good. Let’s go. We don’t have far to go.”
After they passed the entrance to the temple, there were pillars and hallways decorated with enormous stones and gems. As he traveled faster, the Mana of his party members became vivid. It was as if he could almost grasp it with his hands.
Even if their enemies were strong and fast, Artpe was able to catch up without getting into a single battle. Soon, he was close enough to hear the battle being conducted by Sienna and Maetel.
[Cursed beings! Those that oppressed and caged us….!]
The monsters had the lower body of a fish, so they were able to swim freely through water. Maetel and Sienna didn’t budge an inch as they fought the monsters. No, it was apt to say they were overpowering the monsters.
“Hoo-ahp. Unni get out the way!”
Thanks to the boots acquired from the Kraken, Maetel was able to move freely under water. She was able to dominate her foes. Sienna couldn’t move as fast as Maetel, but she was able to kill all her enemies with a single powerful blow. Of course, this was possible thanks to the gauntlet she acquired from the Kraken.
[Dark Blue Ocean Spirit’s Blessed Boots +3]
[It is a new Artifact created by Reinforcing the Kraken’s Soul Boots three times. It allows the user to walk on top of water. Moreover, it allows the user to freely and quickly move around under water. Just by wearing this item the user’s resistance to water and ice type attack increases. It amplifies strength and magical energy if the user is fighting underwater.]
[Dark Blue Ocean Spirit’s Blessed Gauntlet +3]
[It is a new Artifact created by Reinforcing the Kraken’s Soul Gauntlet three times. It has the ability to pull and store the ambient Mana in nature. The ability to store Mana is much greater underwater. The stored Mana changes form through the blessing, and it is imbued on the equipped weapon. It rapidly increases the weight, durability and magical energy of the weapon.]
Sienna’s sledge hammer was already large, but it grew further in size thanks to the power of the gauntlet. She threw the hammer. Since the hammer possessed properties of water, there was no resistance from the water. It destroyed a whole region before flying back into Sienna’s hands.
He never knew one could use the short range type skill called the Weapon Boomerang in such a horrifying manner. It was only a common low rank skill. Artpe gave up on thinking on the subject. He approached them.
Sienna and Maetel had just cleared the area. They greeted him with bright smiles on their faces. Of course, Roa was busy looting and sucking out the evil energy from the corpses created by the two girls.
“Artpe, what happened to that female Demon?”
“I killed her.”
“Yes. All right.”
He thought she would ask why he would kill a Demon he had already saved once. He had expected her to ask about the manner in which the Demon had died. However, Maetel just nodded her hand, and she grasped Artpe’s hand. That was it.
“Anyways, you should look at that. The merfolk that are showing up here are a bit strange, Artpe.”
“Aren’t they like Demons?”
It was as if he was reading the words within her heart. Maetel weakly nodded her head at Artpe’s words. The evil energy and the cunning nature of these monsters reminded her of the Demons she fought at the auction house. They were too similar.
“If the demonification experiments against the merfolk had succeeded, I think the result would have been like this.”
“If it succeeded, it probably would be backward compatible. There is a reason why it is called the ancient temple. These merfolk are of a different breed than the merfolk of the Anaid kingdom. I’m not sure if they were changed or they were always different like this…...”
Maybe, it wasn’t a coincidence that Teana chose to experiment on the merfolk after the humans. It was possible that she hadn’t known about the ancient temple. However, it was more likely that she had captured all the merfolk of this kingdom to release the seal over the temple.
‘Of course, I’m only talking about possibilities….. The situation is a bit too coincidental.’
If he traversed the temple to reach the end, he’ll find his answer. He might find a secret of the merfolk or he might find the being that sealed these merfolk. Maybe, he might find a connection to the Demon race.
The only problem was that the temple was bigger than he thought. His party was somewhat used to exploring large Dungeons now. In the past, they had entered a Dungeons with a light heart, yet they had come out with heavy luggages numerous times!
“Please don’t let this take one year….. Hoo. Let’s head in for now.”
“Artpe, what are we going to do if we get hungry? We are underwater!”
Maetel was more afraid of the starving beggars fighting within her stomach than an invasion by a large Demonic army. When she suddenly realized this fact, she became frightened. When she asked her question, Artpe could only answer her in a benevolent manner.
“Did you forget that we have the Kraken’s corpse? If it is just the three of us, there is enough for us to survive for 5 years. Don’t worry about it.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Kraken’s corpse…. I want to eat it! I’m hungry!”
“No, we have to go a little bit further.”
“Let’s go right now! Immediately!”
The impudent Greed Beast had busily ate curses up until now, yet she was covetous of what the humans had to eat. Then there was the gluttonous hero. She didn’t care if the giant squid was used for the demonification experiment. She only cared if fit was tasty or not.
“Hoo-hee. I’m glad you are ok, oppa.”
“Sienna······ Thank you.”
Sienna calmly greeted him with a bright smile. Sienna was Artpe’s saving grace. He stroked her head as he spoke.
“All right. Let’s loot everything here too.”
The hero’s party had cleared numerous Dungeons in the past. Their abilities were truly astonishing.
The temple was so large that it made one wonder if this place was really built by the merfolk. They continued to advance, and they ruthlessly cut down any evil merfolk that attacked the party. As if to break up the monotony, there were traps and curses interspersed in between. They crushed or ate everything in their path, and the party advanced without a hitch.
It wasn’t just the size of the place or the difficulty of the monsters. It was such a harsh environment that a level 200 high class party would have given up on this place after a week.
Since they were deep underwater, there was considerable amount of pressure on their bodies, and they had to constantly have the Underwater Breathing magic activated. The most critical factor was the fact that a Dungeon Merchant couldn’t appear in this place. There was no way they could purchase food here.
[Nyaa! Nyaa nyaa nyaa?]
“All right. It is clean. This guy had a poison that kills anyone that consumes its flesh. The poison would have caused high fever and diarrhea before it ultimately causing death. Now it is a good source of protein.”
“Yho! It’s time to eat!”
Since the Greed Beast Roa was able to absorb all the negative energy, the hero’s party was able to acquire provisions from the monsters they fought.
“Mmm. It’s tasty. This taste like shrimps.”
“Oppa, the ocean is really great! It is full of tasty things!”
“······I’m the sinner. I’m the one.”
In front of hunger, they didn’t discriminate in eating human-like monsters. Normally, they would eat the Kraken, but when they got sick of eating the Kraken, they laid their hands on the merfolk. Even if they were uncomfortable with the upper half of the body, a merman’s lower body was that of a fish. The lower body stayed in the form of a fish, and they didn’t feel any guilt since it tasted like seafood.
“Artpe, I don’t like it boiled or steamed. I want to roast it.”
“Even if we try to roast it, it’ll become boiled. Don’t complain. Just eat.”
“What if I give Artpe a kiss instead?”
“Heeng. Why didn’t that work?”
This was how Artpe’s party arrived at the center of the temple without a hitch.
At that point, two months had passed since they entered the ocean.