Chapter 149 – Zestbar (2)
“Artpe, are you sure about letting them go?”
“Since they’ve lost their abilities, they can’t return to the Demon world. The deciding factor was the expression on their faces. They no longer want to kill us. They looked like cows that were dragged into the slaughterhouse. There is no need for us to kill them.”
If he stated the conclusion first, his experiment to make the Demons into humans had been extremely successful. Artpe had used the power of the magic tome on the subdued Demons. There were couple rough patches, but he was able to safely extract the essence of the Demons. He was able to keep his subjects alive. Of course, Artpe was able to perfectly strip the shackles placed on them by the Absolute Control.
‘The only sticking point is the fact that the subject has to be drained of all Mana before the magic tome can be activated…. Since I have Roa, it’ll work out somehow.’
When the shackles were undone, the former Demons completely escaped the Demon King’s sphere of influence. The Demon King probably thought they were dead.
If the former Demons came across other Demons, the Demon King would find out that he had made an error of judgment. However, nothing would change even if the Demon King finds out about it. If the Demon king became vigilant against the hero’s party, he might send more Demons towards them. Artpe would be thankful for such a move.
‘Etna…. If I can somehow turn Etna into an ally…’
No. In truth, he didn’t need her as an ally. It was enough for her to be a neutral party.
She was a Demon with a special characteristic. She possessed energy closer to pure fire rather than Demonic energy. As a Demon, this was a detriment to her power. If he released her from her shackles, she would immediately become 1.3 times stronger.
When that happens, she didn’t need to stay next to the hero. She would become a big impediment for the Demon King’s army if she resided in the human realm.
“Artpe, you are thinking about that woman again.”
“No, no. I was thinking about you.”
“That sounds like a lie······.”
Lies didn’t always work against Maetel. This was especially true for lies pertaining to Etna. Was this her woman’s intuition? It was truly frightening.
Arpte turned his head away from Maetel’s sharp gaze. He found a distraction just in time.
“Monster! A Monster is coming towards us!”
Maetel looked dissatisfied, but she had no choice. It was true that a monster was coming towards them. The Steel Horse(It was an all-purpose ride capable of traveling on water and air.) was traveling at high speeds over the ocean. The monster was coming straight towards them.
It was bigger than the Steel Horse, and it had a fierce black mane. It has two sharp eyes, and an exoskeleton that covered its body. Dangerous needles protruded from between the bone armor….
“Oppa, why is that seahorse running above the water?”
“Maybe, the gene of a horse is being expressed right now.”
“I thought it just looked like a horse. I never knew they shared ancestors! Oppa is amazing!”
“Don’t fall for such an obvious lie, you dork.”
Artpe was more surprised by the fact that Sienna knew about the existence of a seahorse. However, the more important point right now was the fact that it was being hostile toward his party.
“I’ll go first, Artpe!”
“······everyone else should get ready for a fight. These bastards are nearly level 300, and they are influenced by the Demon world. They are more powerful in comparison to their level. Never ever let them hit you.”
As soon as the seahorse was registered as an enemy, Maetel started running across the ocean. He nodded his head towards her as he stretched his hand outside of the Steel Horse. He put his hand under the surface of the water. Vadinet was puzzled by what he was doing.
“Seahorses usually live underwater. I’m sure they are coordinating an attack from below the surface of the water.”
He didn’t have to say too much. Several dozen Mana Strings shot into the ocean, and it bound the large herd of seahorses that were secretly charging towards Maetel.
Their defense was so powerful that not a single one of them were killed by Artpe’s Mana String. However, Regina quickly chanted her spell, and she sent the power of the great winds through the Mana Strings. The subdued seahorses were ripped into pieces. It truly was a perfect combo.
“More are gathering.”
“Of course. The attack from a moment ago was an attempt to rile them up. Soon, the whole ocean will be against us.”
“Bad habit. ······a little bit cool.”
When they confirmed that the enemies were rising up from deep within the ocean, Artpe and Regina praised each other’s skills as they prepared their second spell. At that moment, Maetel had reached the enormous seahorse.
Was there anyone or anything that could withstand her frontal assault? Her first sword strike broke apart the exoskeleton of the seahorse. The following strike impacted on the head of the seahorse. There wasn’t even a trace of its head left behind.
She kicked off the water, and she attacked the next target. She killed the next target with a single strike. In the process of killing one, she figured out where all her enemies were located at. From that moment on, she accomplished her task with the least amount of movement and power expenditure as possible. She wasn’t called a genius for nothing.
“I don’t want to admit it, but the title of hero really suits that woman.”
“Vadinet, stop looking vacantly at everything. Come towards me.”
Vadinet unsterood what Artpe wanted from her.
Hadn’t she just witnessed the combo attack between Regina and him?
She deftly let out her holy energy. Artpe used it to strengthen his Mana Strings. The several dozen Mana strings infused with holy energy moved to the depth of the ocean. In the next moment, the Mana Strings moved according to Artpe’s will. The Mana Strings expanded as they attacked the monsters all at once!
The monsters of Zestbar had appeared from the ocean of the Demon world. Of course, they possessed powerful Demonic energy, so they were tormented by the attack.
It would be heartless to just torment them, so he controlled the holy power and magical energy to change the shape of her spell. He continuously changed the form of the spell as he attacked the monsters. In the end, they died. Since these monsters were over level 300, the party’s EXP rose quickly.
The waves of the ocean erupted with blood and screams. A seahorse couldn’t take the pain, so it shot out of the ocean. However, Sienna hit it with her hammer before it could reach Artpe. The violent exchange had happened right in front of him, yet Artpe’s expression remained cool.
“Artpe-nim, your Mana isn’t boundless. We should retreat….”
“Retreat? Do you really think I want to retreat in the middle of this?”
Of course, Artpe could use his Blink ability to retreat, but he didn’t come here with the intent to retreat.
“I wasn’t lying when I said the entire ocean will oppose us. Soon, there will be more monster than water inside the ocean.”
“······behind us. They are gathering.”
When a monster of the Zestbar’s ocean locked into a target, all the monsters of the Zestbar’s ocean gathered to attack them.
The party had to somehow avoid the monsters to reach the shores of the Demon world or the human realm. If not, they would have to fight an endless battle until they were sent to a watery grave. This was the only choice given to those that stepped into this ocean.
“Normally, one would try to cross to the other side before the battle intensifies. One would cross before being surrounded by the monsters. It isn’t necessary to crush all the monsters here.”
“However, didn’t oppa say your goal is within the ocean? If we enter the ocean, we won’t be any closer to entering the Demon world… Does that mean the endless stream of monsters is a hint to finding a way to opening a ruin?”
As expected, Sienna’s ability to digest and understand a situation was outstanding. He stroked Sienna’s head as he nodded his head.
“That’s right. These bastards are our key to the ruin. It can’t be found through normal ways. Even the almighty Demon King probably can’t figure this out.”
It wasn’t worth it for the Demon King to gather and kill the monsters of this ocean. Artpe looked at Maetel, who was single-handedly killing all the monsters that surged above the surface of the water. She looked fierce.
“The ocean of Zestbar has always been protected by a barrier, so it is the most ideal spot to hide something. Moreover, there is an ancient magic circle that covers the entirety of the ocean. I doubt human hands can create or reproduce this magic circle. The ruin will only show up when all the guards are drawn to the surface.”
Anyone could predict what Artpe would say next.
“That is why you guys have to kill them without rest.”
Fortunately, the party was powerful enough to kill any monsters that showed up in the waters of Zestbar.
Not a single monster was able to last beyond two blows from the party. Since all the monsters were falling short of touching the party members, they became enraged. More monsters rushed towards the party. Normally, the job of luring this many monsters would have taken days, but this method allowed them to increase their efficiency. It only took several hours,
“Artpe, look over there!”
It had taken quite a long time, but the ocean had turned black from the blood of the monsters. A whirlpool started forming in the middle of these waters. When the monsters sensed the massive amount of Mana infused within this whirlpool, they started gathering towards it. Maetel was in a rush, so she struck out and killed a portion of the monsters before she returned to the Steel Horse.
“Artpe, is that the ruin?”
“It’ll form soon. Just observe.”
“What do you mean by it’ll form….. Ooooooooh.”
Maetel’s gaze had followed Artpe’s finger. Her expression crumpled as she observed the whirlpool. Maetel liked eating and playing. However, she didn’t like playing with her food. This was why the sight in front of her was truly horrifying.
“The monsters are being sucked into the whirlpool, and they are being blended!? I won’t be able to get a good taste at this rate!”
“Maetel, I know full well that you perceive monsters as ‘something to eat.’ However, you’ve done a good job to help us reach this point, so you should rest for a little bit. Don’t attack them. Rest.”
Artpe let out a sigh as he stretched. Then he stopped his party members, who were trying to attack the monsters that were rushing towards the whirlpool.
“Isn’t this our best opportunity to kill all the monsters, Artpe-nim?”
“The trigger has already been pulled. We just have to wait for the ruin to take shape.”
“A ruin? Wouldn’t we have to kill all these monster to be able to enter into a ruin…. Ah?”
As if to match her voice of disbelief, Vadinet’s slender and beautiful eyebrows gently arched.
“Artpe-nim, are the monsters gathering towards the whirlpool to form the ruin? Is this part of the process?”
“Ah. I’m glad I’ve gathered smart party members……”
“I know it too! They’ll combine to form a heckin’ large fish!”
“Maetel-nim, it is said that you are halfway to sounding smart if you keep your mouth shut. Didn’t you just hear us say it is the ruin? So why would you suddenly bring up a big fish….”
A fight between Vadinet and Maetel was imminent. Before the fight could break out, Artpe spoke in an apathetic voice.
“Maetel is right.”
“What? What do you mean by…. Huh?”
Vadinet was about to retort when her mouth clicked shut. Since so many monsters had rushed towards the whirlpool, it had been hard for Vadinet to see what had been occurring within the whirlpool. Her eyes were planted on the center of the ocean.
It didn’t escape her notice. Something was being born from within it.
“Artpe-nim······ Is this why you wanted us to leave the monsters alone?”
“Since a large number of living monsters were inputted, the output should be large”
“So the outcome…. How big will it be?”
“I’m not sure.”
Artpe raised his gaze as he scratched his head. There was no longer a whirlpool. The blood, muscles and bones of all the gathered monsters were coalesced into a oval-shaped mass. It pulsed in a really gross manner.
It looked like an egg.
“Artpe-nim, you aren’t going to say what I think you are going say, right?”
“Everyone get ready.”
When Artpe gave the order, the upper surface of the egg broke open, and something stuck its head out. When Vadinet saw this, she yelled out loud.
“That isn’t a fish! That’s a mammal!”
“It’s a whaaaaaaaaaaaale!”
However, Vadinet’s words weren’t heard by Maetel. When Maetel realized that a massive whale had hatched from the egg, she let out a great big smile.
“Well, let’s charge forward.”
It didn’t matter that Vadinet spoke to him in despair. Artpe valiantly gave his order.
“We are going into the mouth of the whale!”
It was the ruin where the great magic Reign of Ruin was sleeping. It was the moment when they entered into the ocean’s grave.