Wednesday, April 3, 2024 @

Volume 1 Chapter 96 Three Pieces Of Advice

Volume 1 Chapter 96 Three Pieces Of Advice

 'Why did you guys come to a place like this now? In this forgotten land, where Astal-sama's mercy will no longer reach you.'

 "We're just here to find a key somewhere in this dungeon. We're not interested in anything else."

 Answer only what is asked.

 Ragius doesn't seem to be hostile at the moment, but my intuition tells me that I shouldn't trust him completely.

 The [Instant Death Magic] technique, which has destroyed even the guardian of the key with a single blow, doesn't seem to be working for some reason. I can't imagine myself being able to defeat him. It was the first time something like this had happened.

 ──This dragon is dangerous.

 And this guy is hiding something.

 'Is that something important to you?'

 Is it important?

 What's the point of hearing something like that?

 Ragius must know the existence of the key, so what is his real motive in asking about it?

 "It looks like an ancient item. It has special powers. If someone hasn't taken it away, it should still be here."

 'You haven't answered my question. Why do you want it?'

 "Because I need it to become stronger."

 'What is strength? What will you gain by becoming stronger? Are you planning to become the king of this world?'

 "Becoming stronger is my goal. I don't care about anything else."

 '...I see. So your desire is to simply rush towards destruction.'

 "That's not true. Ark-san has always used his powers for what he believes is right. I, Merletta, the princess of this country, guarantee it."

 'What is right? What is this concept of righteousness? "What are you trying to say?"'


 Ragius looked at Mel and fell silent. After a moment of silence, he looked up at the rock ceiling where a faint ray of sunlight was shining through.

 '...I don't know if it has anything to do with what you guys are looking for, but there seem to be some people wandering around the top of this mountain lately.'

 I can think of a person who could go deeper into this Inferno Pathway.

 "Do you remember what they looked like?"

 'They were clad in ominous armor like a knight. And there were two people following them, one of them a homunculus. They were different from the girl over there.'

 "...Is it Balzark?"

 "It seems so."

 The knight in armor is Balzark, and the beastmen are definitely the girl from the cat people tribe.

 The remaining two must be part of their party as well. It seems they also received a request from King Cretia to retrieve the Key of Inferno from this dungeon.

 ...However, it's strange.

 Since seeing Balzark in Voltana, too much time has passed.

 It's been over a month since I first visited the adventurer's guild. Considering that we haven't encountered them in Trasverum or Aquaflow Cavern, they either went directly from Voltana to Metis, or made some detour somewhere.

 Moreover, even though Balzark was in Voltana at the time, the Emerald Green Dungeon remained untouched. It was clear that the golem guarding the door to the lower layer had not been defeated.

 But why?

 There are so many things I don't understand.

 To obtain all three keys, I need to defeat the guardian and head to the next dungeon. There's no point in staying in one place.

 ──If that's the case.

 "Maybe Balzark still hasn't obtained the key."

 "That's right. If the document is correct, the guardian should be so strong that ordinary adventurers can't defeat it. They might be searching for a way to win."

 The guardian is indeed strong. Even Ryuin couldn't do anything. So, it's not unnatural to think that Balzark and the others can't win. They went to the Emerald Green Dungeon, but they couldn't even defeat the golem, so they moved to Metis... This reasoning seems to hold true.

 'If you wish, I shall carry you all to the top.'

 It was a sudden and unexpected proposal.

 Ragius said he would take us to the top floor of the Inferno Pathway. A monster helping humans?

 "Will you help us?"

 'It's no big deal. For you humans, it will be easier than traversing the harsh lava terrain.'

 "Why would you help us?"

 'It's just a whim. There's no deeper meaning.'

 "Wait! Do you know anything about the key? If you know something, please tell me──"

 Mel, like me, seemed to have noticed that Ragius was hiding something.


 'I told you I don't know. Or perhaps you think you have time to pry into things that don't concern you?'

 "I want to know who made that key and why! That's why──"

 'Questioning is all well and good, but if you keep dawdling, I may change my mind.'

 "...Mel, that's enough."


 "Our goal is to collect the keys, right? We can listen to the story later."


 Mel clenched her fists in front of her chest, reluctantly giving her approval without saying anything further.

 The search for the key was important, and it was the same for both me and Mel.

 Besides, Ragius probably wouldn't answer our questions anyway. There must be a reason he can't answer. I don't know what it is, though.

 'It seems to be decided. Then wait there. I will send you.'

 As Ragius closed both his eyes, an unfamiliar pattern appeared on the ground at our feet. It seemed to be a type of magic. I wasn't sure if it was similar to Chester's Teleportation Magic skill or if it was something entirely different. There was, of course, the possibility of it being a trap, but for some reason, it didn't seem like one.

 'First, I will give you some words from me.'

 Ragius said.


 'What, consider it like advice. It has no force, just mere words... First, Ark.'


 'If you ever want to be strong, then without hesitation, stick to that decision until the end.'

 "What do you mean?"

 'I told you it's just mere words. It has no meaning.'

 Things were still being said in a very one-sided way.

 Even if I asked, he probably wouldn't give me a straight answer.

 'Next is the Homunculus girl. You need to think carefully about what I just said.'

 "...Just now?"

 Fatina, who had been looking down the whole time, lifted her head. Her expression was dark. Is she really taking Ragius's words to heart?

 'Lastly, Merletta.'


 "'Don't do anything from now on.'"

 "Nothing? What does that mean──?"

 'It means exactly what it says.'

 Soon, the patterns began to flash, and the phosphorescence overflowed, distorting the surrounding scenery.

 'I will continue to protect this land as a follower of Astal-sama. If you achieve your goal, we may meet again... Now go. Go and do what needs to be done.'

 As soon as the last voice was heard, Ragius's figure disappeared like mist, and in the next moment, the scenery inside the fiercely burning volcano spread out before me.

 Feeling a little dizzy, maybe because of the teleportation.

 As I look around, I can see the inside of the Inferno Pathway that we were just looking up at a little while ago. There are no drakes around, just the sound of flowing lava.

 It was so easy── we had broken through the Inferno Pathway with Ragius's power.

 "Where... are we?"

 Fatina weakly murmurs, shaking her head.

 "It seems like we passed through a corridor... but who was that Ragius-san in the end?"

 "I don't know any more than you do."

 If Mel, who should have the most knowledge among the three of us, doesn't know, then there's no way I would.

 After all, with Chester's Teleportation Magic, we shouldn't have been able to enter the Aquaflow Cavern. And yet, Ragius managed to do it effortlessly.

 A power that goes beyond what we understand. It's almost like... the key.

 "Was he really not the guardian of the key?"

 "If he says he doesn't know, then it must be different."

 Why did Ragius lend us a hand?

 I can no longer understand his intentions.

 "...Let's move forward."

 Now that we've come this far, there's no turning back.

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