Underground City of the Ancient Gods 4
They found an uninhabited house – granted, every house in this place was empty and even if it wasn’t, undead monsters occupied it – where they could sleep for the night. Mana Detection indicated there were no monsters nearby.
Instinct sure is a pain in the neck, Hikaru thought.
Six points on Instinct was extremely rare, but he’d already met two people who had it – the captain of the knights and Aglaia a while ago.
Sarah of the Four Stars of the East had five on hers. Unken, the hero, had four. It was safe to assume that only very few had four and above. In fact, two or three points on it was uncommon as well.
Back in the Pond and in the royal capital, Hikaru had checked as many Soul Boards as possible. Only those aforementioned four people had at least four points on Instinct. The takeaway, though, was that they existed. There were individuals with high level Instincts.
Just like Strength and Mana, Instinct is a basic stat. Maybe that’s why leveling it up is easy. It’s maxed at 20. Will Stealth be completely useless against, say, ten points on Instinct? But then what would be the point of the Stealth skill?
Hikaru was deep in thought. Unlike Lawrence, Aglaia seemed like she knew where he was exactly.
It must have something to do with her class. She probably has an Instinct-related class that she had active.
He had to think of a countermeasure for this threat. Hikaru arrived at three options.
First was training and equipment. Hikaru was a novice when it came to Stealth and had no combat training. He lived in Japan, after all, so it made sense. His foes were professionals. He could rely on his Soul Board and job class, but Instinct might be enough to see through him.
Maybe I need some sort of a teacher to develop my skill… Is there even anyone who’s a Stealth expert?
Unken popped up in his mind. Though since it looked like he didn’t want to talk about his past, there was no way the man would teach him. In the first place, Hikaru had no plans of returning to Pond.
His second option was to completely rely on his Skills. He had three points on both his Life and Mana Obfuscation at the moment, and they maxed out at five. Another Skill might pop up once he maxed them out.
I have… three points left.
Age: 15 Rank: 23
He got one level back in the forest by the lake and two today.
It’s surprisingly easy to get your rank up…
That was a misconception on Hikaru’s part. Levelling up was anything but easy. Usually you’d form a party with at least five people to hunt monsters. If someone got injured, they’d have to deal with it appropriately and even act more cautiously. Fighting nonstop with only two people was almost entirely impossible.
Incidentally, Lavia’s rank had gone up to 18, with 11 available points.
I could add more points to Life Obfuscation.
Very few people had Mana Detection. It would then make sense to prioritize Life Obfuscation. Still, Hikaru was having second thoughts.
His third option could be more effective, which was for him to learn Instinct. He hadn’t the slightest idea how Instinct worked at all – how one could find someone hiding with Stealth.
Okay, let’s try one point on Instinct. If it turns out to be useless, I’ll just max out Obfuscation or get new gear.
It might end up being a waste of points, but just one was okay. Hikaru needed to experience what Instinct was like for future reference as well.
Soul Board Hikaru
Age: 15 Rank:23
「What’s wrong, Hikaru?」
Nothing’s changed, he thought.
「We should go to sleep. We need to rest any time we can.」Lavia said.
Hikaru placed the holy oil lamp on the floor, laid out his cloak beside it, and lay down. Lavia, putting her own cloak over him, cuddled close.
「It’s warmer this way.」
She was using his arm as a pillow. It wasn’t really cold, but maybe it was too much for her to sleep without anything to keep her warm. She had taken her cap off, and Hikaru caught her scent.
「Don’t get your face too close. I haven’t washed yet.」
「You’re the one who cuddled to me.」
「There are just some things you can and cannot do.」
Hikaru was about to bury his nose into her hair when suddenly a thought popped in his mind, stopping him: She’ll definitely get mad.
Yeah. Even she gets mad too… Wait, why am I so sure about that?
「Oh, so this is Instinct.」
「It’s nothing. Good night.」
It came so naturally; it didn’t even feel strange. He could see one step ahead, like his five senses had been further enhanced. It was as if he was omnipotent.
Instinct turned out to be useful. It made him want to put the rest of his points on it, but he controlled himself. One point might just be enough. He didn’t have unlimited points. He needed to check what it could do first.
Instinct would end up being the trump card he needed against high level Instinct.
It was Gafrasti N. Valves who named the dungeon the Underground City of the Ancient Gods. As a man who studied the ancient Poelnxinia dynasty, he spent his life looking for the fallen city. There were barely any records left of the place and strangely enough, its ruins hadn’t been discovered.
According to Ponsonian history, the current royal capital, G. Ponsonia, was rebuilt by the legitimate successors to the royal family after the collapse of the dynasty. The restoration took a long time, and nations regained their strength. Gradually, the old Poelnxinia lost much of its territory. Afterwards Poelnxinia changed its name to Ponsonia.
For convenience, “ancient Poelnxinia” referred to the kingdom before the collapse, “Poelxsinia” for after the fall, and then “Ponsonia” after the restoration.
Gafrasti quickly deduced that this underground city was the ancient Poelnxinia, in other words, the city of the gods. What he wanted to do in this place, Hikaru didn’t know. Perhaps it was just his curiosity as a historian. But Hikaru had a hint.
「The current royal capital was modelled after ancient Poelnxinia. That explains the similar design.」Hikaru said as he was eating breakfast.
They were having a sandwich, as it was almost expired. From noon onwards, they would mostly be eating preserved foods.
「You’re saying this dungeon is the old capital? That’s just weird. Why would anyone build a city underground?」
「Why does a map of this place exists when this place hasn’t been completely explored yet?」
「Now that you mention it…」
「Because Gafrasti thinks this is the old capital. He happened to have a map of the place and he was here to check if it matched.」
「I see… But why would they build a city underground?」
「This is just my guess, but I think there was some sort of an accident.」
Hikaru recalled the poem verse.
“G. Poelnxinia vanished on Day of Dawn completely.”
「Vanished… It’s just a strange word to use. Like the royal capital just disappeared? But if this place is the old capital, then there must have been some sort of an incident that caused the city to be transported underground.」
「Transportation magic hasn’t been put into practical use.」
「Sure looks like it.」Hikaru said, nodding.
In this world, there were gods, spirits, souls, and magic. But the laws of physics on Earth applied to this world as well.
If we assume that “magic” is simply an undiscovered energy back on Earth, then can’t the existence of gods and spirits also be proven scientifically?
Roland used the art of crossing worlds to bring Hikaru’s soul to this world. Selica Tanoue of the Four Stars of the East could have a Japanese soul within her as well. This was a kind of “transportation”.
「Maybe it’s not being put to use, but I think it’s possible.」
Perhaps the energy-related problems were offset and solved by magic — no, sorcery — making transportation possible.
The Any*here Door was in another world all along.
「The whole capital was transported underground?」
「Exactly. Anyway, we’ll know once we’ve explored this place.」
「That sounds like it’ll take a long time.」
「It won’t. We’ll be done by the end of the day.」
「Of course.」Hikaru smiled.「Back in the capital, you could walk all the way to the castle in one day. Fortunately this time, no one will be stopping us.」