Chapter 31 “Ruins”
The next morning.
I was walking down the street in low spirits.
“Looking at you yesterday, I thought to myself.
You know, it's dangerous for you to be left alone.”
The cause was Heidi, who was walking next to me.
I left the mansion in the dark and headed for the ruins, but this woman was not sleeping and was watching me.
I tried to ignore her, but she wouldn't listen, saying, “I'm coming with you.”
”I'm worried about you.”
Oh, I see.
Why are you a little embarrassed?
Oh, you're embarrassed because you said it yourself?
Then why didn't you stop?
”I don't have an answer to what you said yesterday, so why don't you take me with you for a change?”
I let out a deliberate sigh to show my annoyance.
I owe this guy a bit of a favor, and it's hard to turn her down because she's not blatantly dragging me down.
In fact, it would be a great help to me if she stayed.
”So? Where are we going today? Inspection of the territory?”
”We're going to investigate the ruins that Zubel has been hiding.”
Did I not mention that?
“The ruins are…”
There was nothing to do but walk around, and I decided to explain it to her, albeit in a simple way.
You sure this is the place?”
”Yeah, I'm pretty sure we're in the right place.”
I, Pietro, a second-grade blue adventurer, replied, fed up with the insistence of my companions.
We are the adventurer party “Quick Treasure.”
There were five of us.
Our base was in Grado territory, south of Oratorium.
The members were myself, the leader, two warriors, and two mages.
It's a male-dominated group.
I wish we could get a girl….
Our current location is a forest on the western outskirts of the Oratorium territory.
We came here because of a request we received a dozen days ago.
The client was Zubel Bonnord, acting lord of the Oratorium family.
The request was to investigate an archaeological site discovered in the territory.
We have already received the payment in advance.
We were ready to move at the client's request.
However, just as we were about to move in, there seemed to be some trouble on the client's side.
He asked us to wait a little bit.
And then we never hear from him again.
The appointed day came and went, no word, and we decided that our client had somehow become unreachable.
We waited a few days and never heard from him again.
We got an advance for free, but the job was to survey an untouched ruins.
It's not often you get a job this lucrative.
If the client didn't say anything, why don't we do the research ourselves?
We decided to get ready and head for Oratorium.
We had not heard the exact location of the site, but it was not difficult to pinpoint it, considering the fact that the ruins had not yet been discovered.
And we were on our way to the place we had guessed.
We entered the forest, one of our companions ahead of us, heading down the roadless path.
All of us are restless, imagining what awaits us.
”Pietro! There it is!”
”You found it!”
I run and head for my buddy's place.
I couldn't help but be in a hurry.
We cut through the grass and there in a little open space was the mouth of a ruin.
The trees and rocks were so dense that you would have to get quite close to determine that it was a ruin.
Moss and grass were growing in profusion, indicating that there was no sign that anyone had ever set foot in the area.
A hit indeed.
Perhaps it is a dungeon.
Behind us, our friends shout with delight.
”Oh! Wow! It really is ruins!”
”Maybe it's a dungeon!”
”What kind of treasure could be in there…?”
I calm my excited friends and tell them to get ready.
”All right! Paul! We're going to attack with both possibilities, the ruins and the dungeon.”
Paul nodded vigorously and spread out the tools he had brought.
He is also in charge of procuring tools and other equipment.
The tools are mainly for detecting and disarming traps, and other magical tools for detoxification, wound healing, and so on.
Whether in ruins or dungeons, there are often traps set for intruders.
We need to be prepared.
Okay, no problem.
Behind us, our friends are rushing us to hurry up.
I know, I know.
I can't wait to get in there.
”All right, let's go.”
We stepped into the ruins.
It's cold inside.
Paul lights up the perimeter with a lamp.
My companions behind me were cold, too, but not unbearably so.
We were moving slowly because we were on the lookout for traps, but we were making sure we were making progress step by step.
At first it was a straight passage, but after walking for a while, I saw stairs leading down.
“Hmmm…? Maybe it's not a dungeon, since there have been no traps so far.”
My companion said in a slightly dejected tone.
To be honest, I was expecting to find traps everywhere, but nothing happened until we reached the stairs.
After descending the stairs, we found ourselves in an open area.
An open space.
In my experience, open spaces are dangerous.
There are often large monsters and large-scale traps.
I saw nothing…no, there was something in the center of the room.
It's a monster.
I've never seen anything like it.
It looks like a caterpillar, but it is covered by an armored shell and looks very tough.
But it's not that big, maybe half my size at best.
The two mages take up supporting positions with their staffs ready, and the warriors draw their weapons.
I carefully pull out the sword at my waist.
The monster does not move.
We close the distance, half encircling.
When we are almost at sword point, the monster opens its mouth.
Is it coming!?
My companions brace themselves.
To my surprise, the monster spoke.
I couldn't understand it, but I knew it was a string of words that meant something.
I looked at my friends, but they all shook their heads.
They too seemed to be unable to understand what it was saying.
I still have no idea what they are saying.
Is this guy the gatekeeper here or something?
Should I say something?
But it's dangerous to reply when you don't understand what's being said…?
“Hey, what are we going to do? You want me to do it?”
Let's see what happens.”
I restrain my companion from getting too worked up, and think about what to do.
The monster said something at last and disappeared into the back passage.
”What was that?”
”No…I don't know what it was either…”
”Hey, do you hear something?”
I definitely hear something.
It's the sound of something big moving.
It's coming toward us.
And it's not coming from the back passage.
It's coming from behind the wall.
”Hey…this can't be good…”
The two mages behind me are also looking around and becoming more vigilant.
“Everyone stay together! Get to the center of the room!”
I quickly give instructions to my companions and take up a position in the center of the room.
My companions followed suit.
We all formed a circle and prepared for anything.
While we were doing this, the sound got louder and louder…
and then it stopped.
We remained motionless for a while, but nothing happened.
Someone muttered unintentionally.
I let out a heavy breath.
I don't know what's going on, but it looks like we're saved.
”Damn it! I don't know what it was, but it scared the shit out of me.”
Paul smiles a light smile of relief and moves away from us.
”Hey! Let's get the hell out of here.
Before he could finish, Paul disappeared from the waist up.
We couldn't understand what had happened in front of us.
Paul's upper body suddenly disappeared.
The remaining lower body spurted blood from the cross section as if it remembered…
Then our understanding caught up with us.
”Stay alert! Stay alert! There's something out there!”
I also sent out instructions to my companions, trying to crush my unrest.
Where are you? What happened! I felt the air move just as the Paul disappeared.
Something is definitely out there.
What do we do? Do we go outside?
No, it's dangerous to move without knowing where the attack came from.
Suddenly, I felt something on my cheek.
When I touched the spot with my hand, I felt something slippery on my hand.
I looked at my hand and saw a red liquid…apparently blood was staining my hand.
…Is it up there!?
I look up.
I see a dim ceiling and…what is that?
I see a black mass.
It's right above us.
Did the blood come from there?
I look at it, trying to figure out what it is, and call out to my friends…
…before I can call out, my surroundings suddenly turn dark.
I could not understand what had happened until the very end.
The only thing I knew was that something had crushed my body.
”So I'm going to investigate the ruins that Zubel has been hiding.”
Heidi's face becomes a little complicated when she hears my explanation.
Well, as it turns out, Zubel was the cause of the bloodbath, and she's at a loss to react.
If you ask me, the ruins were just a trigger, and sooner or later it would have happened.
”Where would that place be?”
that heavily forested area? Certainly, that area is almost untouched, so if anything is going to come out, it's going to be there…”
You're quick on the uptake.
”Yes, it is.
We'll go through a couple of villages.”
”I get it. It's complicated…
but undiscovered ruins…
Heidi's eyes lit up like a child's.
Perhaps she is curious about the ruins, too.
But at this point, I can't speak for others.
Because I am excited too.
Heidi, you understand what I'm talking about.
My opinion of Heidi has risen a little.
…I guess it's only a couple of days to my destination.
I quickened my pace a little toward my destination.
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