Underground City of the Ancient Gods 9
Hikaru pulled Lavia’s arm to help her up.
「Can you run?!」
They dashed out of the treasure room. Hikaru could hear the wall crumbling behind them.
「Is that a giant?! How did it get so close?」Lavia said.
He could ask the same question. Hikaru wanted to beat himself up so bad.
I thought I could sense if it came closer by the rumbling… That and I didn’t pay attention to my Mana Detection the moment I found the revolver. It’s my fault that giant got close to us!
The giant most likely approached carefully so as not to cause tremors. It should’ve been slow. Hikaru would’ve seen it with his Mana Detection.
「Lavia! Set the lamp to maximum brightness!」
「What about the undead?!」
「They’re not around.」
His Mana Detection didn’t sense any undead. They had fled because of the giant.
The giant knows where we are exactly.
Hikaru was almost sure about that.
That much was certain when it decided to approach us quietly before attacking us. Why, though? Because I deactivated Group Obfuscation? No, that’s not it.
Hikaru was holding Lavia’s hand at the moment, his Skill active. The moment they left the room and got out of sight from the giant, Stealth should’ve taken effect right away.
How does it know where we are?
The magic lamp lit up the hallways of the castle. Hikaru turned around and saw the giant that had destroyed the treasure room.
「You’ve gotta be kidding me!」
The giant dashed through a hallway too narrow for its size, destroying pillars along the way, not stopping.
They entered a small passage, rolling over. The giant was rampaging through the place.
「Get up, Lavia.」
Holding each other’s hands, they ran. They had no idea where they were going. All of a sudden, Hikaru felt a gaze. Purple-colored eye was peering into the passage they went through.
An arm stretched out. Being more than ten meters away, Hikaru felt relieved. Yet the arm was reaching for them, stretching like rubber. It almost had them.
「Here goes nothing!」
Hikaru pointed the revolver at the giant’s arm and quickly pulled the trigger. A metallic sound rang out, not even reminiscent of gunpowder. A blue trail shot out from the muzzle. The moment it hit the giant’s hand, it instantly got covered in ice and repelled.
「Wh-What the hell?! It’s not a gun?! That looked like magic…」
The passage was too small for the giant. All it could do was glare at them. While Hikaru couldn’t see everything clearly, about a meter above the creature’s head was a sphere-like object that looked like an antenna, giving out small sparks.
A chill ran down Hikaru’s spine. This is bad. That thing screams danger. I can’t let it use that no matter what.
He readied his gun. Could he really hit his mark? He couldn’t get closer as the creature’s arm was there.
What are the chances an amateur like me can hit my target? There’s one thing that can compensate for my lack of experience.
Throwing. Hikaru summoned his Soul Board.
He poured every point he got from killing undead.
The new skill could wait till later. Hikaru aimed the gun once more, and this time he knew where the bullet would hit, like he had a laser pointer on. He pointed the gun at the sphere above the giant’s head and took a shot. This time gray light burst forth. A rock sprouted at its point of impact, covering the giant’s head.
「…Not enough, huh.」
The light above its head didn’t stop. Light spilled from the rock’s cracks, sparks coming out like some broken gas stove.
「Over here, Lavia!」
Hikaru grabbed Lavia’s hand and ran once more. Right after they turned a corner, he felt a flash behind them.
Cautiously, he turned around. There was nothing out of the ordinary.
「H-Hikaru… Look…」Lavia said, pointing at his cloak. The cuffs had melted – the smell of putrefaction hung in the air.
A giant with a special attack that caused decay. The massive number of undead in the dungeon…
「…Is that what created the undead?」
It was downright ridiculous. With its light properties, it could be fired in any direction. Holding back the chill he felt, they started making a run for it again. Hikaru could hear the earth rumbling not far. The giant was chasing them.
「There’s only one escape route. The entrance to the castle.」
They left the building and arrived at the open area. The bridge was just up ahead. The whole place was deserted, the Dead Knight and Draugrs nowhere to be seen. Countless undead had filled the area before and now they were gone.
「Did they run away…?」
Do the undead fear the giant because it turned them into what they are?
「Damn it. That thing’s fast!」
The giant made it to the open square, destroying the castle along the way. The creature looked around and noticed Hikaru and Lavia running towards the bridge.
Hikaru’s ears hurt, as though his eardrums were being stabbed by needles. The giant’s roar shook the whole castle. Walls near the giant collapsed. The castle, having stood for six hundred years, was starting to crumble.
「It’s heading straight for us… So it does know where we are.」
They kept running.
「Hikaru… I’ll keep it occupied… If I use every bit of my mana…」Lavia said, her grip tightening.「It might not be enough to kill it, but I can at least slow it down. In the meantime, you get out of here! So just leave me behind and… ouch!」
Hikaru flicked her forehead. Lavia scowled at him with teary eyes.
「Wh-Wh-What was that for?!」she exclaimed.
「What would happen to you if you didn’t kill it? Besides, you used plenty of mana a while ago. What happens after you fired a powerful spell at it?」
「You wouldn’t even be able to stand. And you’re telling me to run then?」
「That just won’t do. I went through a lot of trouble rescuing you. I can’t let you throw away your life that easily.」
「B-B-But at this rate, we’ll both be dead!」
「That’s not gonna happen.」
They made it over the bridge. The giant was running at an incredible speed.
He stopped, turned around, and aimed the revolver. The giant was crossing the bridge, each step causing it to creak.
He pulled the trigger twice. The first shot was an orange flame, the second a glaring lightning, each hitting their own mark.
With its foothold collapsed, the giant fell down the dry moat. The ground trembled along with a loud rumbling. All of a sudden, it was quiet.
「…D-Did you kill it?」
Lavia shone the lamp on the debris. The ditch was thirty meters deep. Even if the giant jumped, it wouldn’t be able to reach them. They couldn’t see its body through the clouds of dust.
Then, a purple light flashed. An arm shot out from underneath the rubble, blowing away debris. Hikaru tilted his head to dodge pieces of debris flying towards him.
「A giant? More like a golem actually…」
When the dust settled, what Hikaru saw was not a body made of flesh, but only a puppet with joints. On the surface of its body made of rock was a strange pattern with purple light flowing through it. In contrast to its massive chest, its hips were narrow. While its face was modelled after a human’s, it didn’t have a nose or a mouth, only eyes that glowed. And on top of its head was a sphere object that Hikaru failed to destroy – the device that created the undead.
「L-Let’s go, Hikaru. It’ll be a while before it can get out of there.」
「Hikaru? Don’t tell me you’re actually thinking of taking it down…」
He smiled at Lavia to calm her down.
「Yes. Yes, I am.」
「Good… Wait, what?!」
「The fact that it’s not using that flickering thing over its head means it has a cooldown, or it couldn’t use it anymore. It looks like it doesn’t have a reliable long-range attack as well. It’ll try to get out of there, but that’ll take some time.」
「But we can’t take down something that huge from here. So you want me to use my magic after all?」
「Like I said, if you used your spell and that thing survives, we’ll be in deep trouble. I don’t have the stamina to carry you all the way back to town.」
「Then our only option is to run…」
「That’s a fine idea, but it’ll probably still follow us. If it comes to the surface and heads to town, it’ll be a disaster. I want to kill it right here.」
「How are you going to do it?」Lavia asked.
Hikaru had a hypothesis that he wanted to test out. If it worked, the giant wouldn’t follow them. It might even be enough to kill the creature. If it failed, they would just escape. Although, the town might have to be sacrificed.