Chapter 77 – Is This Really Happening Again? (1)[Goo-goo-ohhhhhhh!] [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 . ] [But······ . ] [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?”[Nyaaaaaaa!]
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 . ”[Nyaa!]
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![Nyaaaaaaahng!]
“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 . ”[Nyaa . ]
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 .[Nyaa! Nyaa!]
“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… . .[Nyaa!]
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 nyaa-ah······ . ]
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 .[ Nyaa!]
“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 .
“Hoohp!”[Koo-gahhhhhhh!] [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?”
“······yes . ”
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 . ”[Nyaa?]
“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 . ”
“Ya-ho! 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 . ”[Nyaa-oooh, nyaa-ah!]
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?”
“You can’t . ”
“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 .