TL: There's a bit of minor change from the raws, and also some fixes from my draft in patreon. This will also be the last chapter of the batch until I finish translating this mini boss arc. ETA next few chapters will be maybe 1-2 days.
Chapter 238 – Boss?
The deepest part of the catacomb.
It was typical for an Elite Boss to be situated in such a place. Brendel went to the reported room and instinctively sensed something wrong with it.
The area was very small and its shape was a square, with the distance between each wall ending at ten-odd steps. An immense stone coffin sat in the center of the room, raised on a platform that was also made out of stone. The room's architecture design was the same as the coffins in the burial chamber, but there was an oppressing feeling in this room that made one feel stifled.
Under the flickering orbs of light cast by the apprentices, the mercenaries that accompanied the latter felt like there was a source of evil in the air which made the place freezing cold. A few mercenaries lit up torches only to find that the flames were being suppressed, and they realized that both magical light and physical flames were affected.
[This is a good example of the aura released by an Elite Boss, but it's much stronger than I expected, it's definitely not a level 30 boss.]
Brendel surveyed his surroundings, but he did not detect any signs of the Boss. The only place where the Boss could possibly be was in the coffin. He pulled out Halran Gaia, stood in front of his men, and gestured with a flicker of his hand to get them to stay in position.
“Where are the cards?” He turned to the apprentice who had reported to him earlier and asked.
“Right inside the coffin, My Lord.”
Brendel went closer and peered into the coffin that had its cover slightly ajar, barely able to catch a glimpse of the remains because of the coffin's height. He immediately discovered the difference between the corpses and bones within the burial chamber— Most of these buried skeletons were probably slaves that wore inexpensive clothes that mostly disintegrated with the pa.s.sage of time.
But the mostly obscured figure in this grand coffin still wore a perfect robe and his hand was holding on to a Black Ironwood staff. A single glance told Brendel that it used to be a wizard; Black Ironwood was an expensive material that was rarely used to make a simple staff.
There were five glowing Cards of Fates scattered next to it. It was not strange for wizards to hold onto such cards as they carried some mystical properties and intrigued them. Many would collect such odd items and even got killed because they collected cursed statues or weapons.
[I can't use White Raven Sword Arte anymore since I removed the ability from my professions. Should I try getting the cards with an Elementalist Spell? Hmm, no, I should conserve my EP in case I have to do battle—]
“Can one of you use a wind spell or Magical Grasp to pick up the cards?” Brendel asked.
The more he stared at the figure, the more he felt that the room was dangerous. Elite Bosses had many different types, and the most challenging ones had complicated skillsets with traps accompanying it. While there were only Tomb Ghouls found in the burial chamber, there was no a.s.surance that it was not a high-level Lich resting in this room. He definitely did not want to do battle in this particular place.
“I already tried getting them out earlier, My Lord, but there seems to be a force that erased my magic. A few of the other apprentices had the same outcome.” The apprentice who reported to Brendel answered.
The youth turned his head towards that man with a raised eyebrow. This room was giving him an inexpressible feeling. The event ‘Calamity of Wolves' where he faced swarming wolves that came like a tidal wave did not even make him as nervous as he was right now. The danger that he felt in the air was like needles poking at his skin and made him feel like his heart was contracting. After experiencing thousands upon thousands of dungeons in the game, his instinct had become very sharp in these places.
[The entrance to this catacomb is pretty ordinary, and a dungeon in the rural Aouine usually does not go beyond level 40. It should in theory be at a difficulty of a Gold-ranked mob, but there isn't any guarantee that it will definitely be that level. If I a.n.a.lyze it by history instead, then this place would be thousands of years old. The older the history, the more strange and bizarre the creatures would be. Something that disp—]
“Wait, did you say erased? Your magic wasn't dispelled or nullified?”
“No, we did not sense our spells being deconstructed, rather…… Our connection to the spell was severed.”
[Mental disruption? Probably related to Spirit magic. Empath, Holy Words, Witchcraft amongst others are all cla.s.sified under it. If it's an Undead, then Witchcraft is likely to be the answer. Hexing and cursing someone to cause them to hallucinate, twisting one's emotions so that their fear is magnified a thousand times.]
The chilling atmosphere in this room fit the answer. The room was not simply cold because of the low temperature, but also because of the eternal darkness setting in one's mind and making it completely numb like ice. Brendel pondered for a while and thought a Lich was indeed the best answer to the riddle. He fiddled in his bag and took out the white deer statue he made long ago.
The mercenaries were initially startled to find a glowing white deer suddenly appearing in the room, but they sighed with relief when the youth held out the statue to indicate that he was the one who summoned it. However, their eyes had another tinge of awe when they looked at the youth.
Legends in Aouine's borders depicted white deer to be holy creatures and those who received their blessings tend to become heroes. It was prevalent in these places because of the white deer with beautiful antlers appearing in the forest.
But Brendel instead frowned. The White Deer actually retreated a few steps after its manifestation and pawed the ground nervously.
[The deer is supposed to be the counter to evil and it actually retreated?]
He looked at Ciel and found him looking back. The two men were fully alert now.
“Should……. we bring them over, My Lord?” One of the apprentices asked with a little stutter as he observed Brendel's expressions.
It was clear to everyone that something was wrong in this room. It was originally a risky thing to enter a place where the dead rested. One might call it an ‘adventure' in the dungeons, but it was essentially plundering the dead, and many ‘adventurers' were killed by unholy creatures and fatal curses.
Still, Brendel commanded great respect in Firburh, and if he ordered them to get the cards, most of these apprenticing wizards and mercenaries would still do it.
The youth shook his head. He might be a lord who possessed territories and even an excellent ‘n.o.ble' in the princess's eyes, but he was still a pure gamer at his very core.
Amandina would have voiced out loud that he should not place himself in danger as a lord, but he did not want to use any excuse to send someone to their deaths to trigger a deadly trap. Some of the players in the game did not even have the heart to do these things to the NPCs who were controlled by artificial intelligence.
He would have saved the kingdom many times over if it was that easy to get the victory spoils from a place like this. The only option was to cut down the Boss in the coffin before getting the loot here. It was common sense that one could only get loot after beating something up and it did not differ very much in this world too.
“I want you lot to back off, this isn't a battle you can partic.i.p.ate in,” he waved his sword back and forth to get his subordinates to retreat. He blinked at Ciel at the same time and looked at his left and right, indicating for the both of them to approach on each side. He was going to cleave the coffin into two halves and at least injure the Boss before the fight really started.
His command made the mercenaries and apprentices confused. They had never seen a n.o.ble who would volunteer to throw himself into danger. This action was truly mind-boggling, and they could not think of an exception even if it was a n.o.ble from other kingdoms. They knew that only a cold-hearted man would go far in the political battles between n.o.bles, but at the same, no one would be actually willing to serve such a person.
They did not object to Brendel's order as they understood the magnanimity behind it.
Alistair could not help but bite his finger as he contemplated deeply. He was born in a small n.o.ble family, and his father was busy every day to make connections. There was no lack of high n.o.bles who went in and out of his house, people who hid behind facades, spoke few words, or showed any real emotions. The others did not suspect Brendel's status.
Indeed, it was true that the youth was incredibly learned, and only a n.o.ble of incredible background would be able to afford such an education. Alistair suspected Brendel's true ident.i.ty was something else, though his suspicions did not explain the latter's confidence and knowledge, he was tremendously puzzled over his actions.
[His actions made me wonder if he's pretending, and even if he is, it wouldn't affect my pledge to be loyal. But now I can believe that he's different. He is a true n.o.ble, one who follows the ways of King Erik. It's almost as though he's royalty, walking in front of his citizens to lead the citizens out of the darkness, cutting down obstacles to carve out a path towards order and light.]
In this road of darkness, the blood that was shed belonged to the n.o.bles. It was the road of the ancient sages.
Alistair subconsciously took a step forward as he watched Brendel and Ciel's backs. The latter was already on each side, both ready with their weapons. At that moment, the temperature within the room suddenly decreased at a stunning rate. A layer of frost grew on the four walls right before everyone's eyes, and in the blink of an eye, the entire room was white in color.
Teeth started chattering and bodies shivered.
“What the funk is this c.r.a.p!”
Brendel's strange shriek immediately smashed the n.o.ble image within Alistair's mind, and the exalted figure returned to that lord who nitpicked at odd things.
Indeed, Alistair would never come to know Brendel's image was actually a gamer's.