Chapter 408 – The Hill For Enlightenment (2)
Sara reached out with difficulty and grabbed hold of the edge of the cliff.
It was exactly five days and fourteen hours after the start of her climb.
She was finally able to reach her first destination.
Sarah gasped and laid on the floor.
The final climb was hellish.
The surroundings were completely flat due to Nidhog’s digging, making it difficult to hang on to the wall.
If she hadn’t been able to turn the golden stick into a sickle to hold onto the wall, it would have been much more difficult.
How could she succeed in climbing up without it? She managed to climb up, but the real problem came next.
Large bees appeared out of nowhere.
“I almost died.”
Thirteen years old.
It wasn’t a long life, but Sarah had gone through so many battles.
But the situation she was in now would be in the top five of the most dangerous ones.
Three bees tried to kill her, and she had to face them without any plan while clinging to the wall.
She even fell down once, but she was able to live with the help of an artifact.
And after struggling to knock down those bees, she climbed up again.
“If it wasn’t for the artifacts, I would have died several times already.”
The artifacts that the High Elves gave her went beyond just supporting her body.
They lacked thought, but they were close to giving her superhuman strength.
Her stamina increased to some extent, and she stood up from her seat.
Time was slowly getting dark, and Sarah turned to look inside.
The hole that Nidhog made was large and deep enough for light not to shine inside it.
However, she had an artifact for that.
Sarah held out the ring on her left hand’s middle finger, and it shone, attracting a sphere of light and absorbing it into the purple stone.
Seeing this, Sarah held it out again, and the light that was absorbed began to drive out the darkness.
She decided it was enough for her to move even in the darkness now.
When she first arrived at this place, there was a risk of the insects attacking her, so she didn’t think about moving at night, but ever since she stepped into the hole, she couldn’t feel anything.
Sarah took out a piece of bread from the subspace and bit into it, and then she went inside.
“But does it mean Nidhog, or whatever it was, was this huge?”
It could just be a small hole compared to the World Tree, but from a human’s point of view, it was roughly around 200 meters.
And it could be said that the worm was this long.
Even considering that it dug a little more for it to move, it would be around 150 meters.
Against such a huge monster, Rebecca borrowed the Spirit King’s power and killed it in just two attacks.
She watched it from the side, but when she looked back, it was scary.
Throwing those thoughts aside, Sarah focused on going inside.
There was nothing around, and all she could hear was the wind moving.
There seemed to be a swirling whirlpool inside due to the wind’s movement, which was happening around the holes that Elquines had made while trying to kill the worm.
Sara focused on walking quietly in the silence that lasted for quite some time.
It was about two hours later that she felt a presence.
Sarah walked away without saying a word.
And she felt that there was someone secretly following her from behind.
And it was happening at regular intervals.
It would have been difficult for her to notice it if she didn’t have any artifacts that heightened her mana sensitivity.
She naturally put her hand on the golden stick.
She infused mana into it and prepared to change it to a sword anytime.
‘Is it a bug?’
It couldn’t be a bug.
If it were a bug, it wouldn’t move this slowly in pursuing her.
Rather, it would move like it was trying to hunt her down.
Of course, she didn’t know all the bugs and their behaviors, but most of the bugs she had fought here did that.
It wasn’t attacking, but it was like it was trying to move without being caught, either.
And if she could feel it, then so could that thing.
Then, the surroundings suddenly became dark.
A panicked voice came from behind.
There was no place to hide in this open land, and when it suddenly turned dark when it was just bright seconds ago, one would momentarily find it hard to see.
Sarah was also blind, but moving in the dark was easy for her.
She ran as fast as she could towards the presence she felt.
A voice that sounded like that of a child called out urgently, but Sarah had no intention of stopping.
She changed the stick to a sword, and the blade, which couldn’t be seen in the darkness, flew right towards her pursuer.
It was the sound of metal clashing with metal.
“Ugh! My tail!”
A whining voice could be heard.
“Are you insane? Why would you wield something like that around here? I almost died!”
The being was shouting against her in protest.
Feeling something strange, Sarah aimed her ring at the voice, and it shone.
“Ack! My eyes! Are you planning on blinding me?!”
At the bright light that shone, a large squirrel was struggling to cover its eyes.
“So, what are you?”
“L-Loosen this up, and I will tell you.”
Sarah looked at the squirrel, which was chained to a rope, with her arms crossed.
It was a white squirrel smaller than her, and it was struggling to untie itself.
However, the rope was made from the stick given by Shiva, so it would be impossible to untie it.
Eventually, the squirrel sighed and whined to Sarah.
“My skin hurts.
Do you know how precious my skin is?”
“I have no intention of releasing you.
It isn’t like struggling is going to help you with anything either.”
“You won’t release me even though I’m a cute squirrel?”
The squirrel asked with bright, huge eyes.
As it said, it was definitely cute.
It reminded her of the pink squirrel she used to play with when she was young.
She cried so much when she suddenly disappeared.
Well, Sarah was weak to cute things, but she had developed a lot of mental strength over the past three years through training.
She asked the squirrel with cold eyes, and spoke in a voice that made it seem like she would break its bones if lies came out of its mouth,
“Tell me why you are following me.”
“Why are you doing this? What did I do wrong?”
When that didn’t work, the squirrel began to shout as if it was frustrated.
“What did you do wrong? You followed me.”
“Followed? Are you delusional or something? I was on my way…”
Sarah’s fist landed between the squirrel’s legs.
Wood splinters flew off, creating a pit slightly larger than a fist.
“Talk nonsense, and it will be your face next time.”
And the squirrel looked like it would talk properly now.
“First, tell me who you are.
I’ve never heard of something like you living here.”
“Of course, you didn’t.
I have never been seen by those long ears ones down there.
They don’t even know I exist.
There was a hint of pride in its voice.
Sara cast a suspicious look and asked,
“Why would I lie? Of course! They don’t know me, but I know them.”
Sarah wasn’t sure, but if Hiyan knew about this squirrel’s existence, she would have spoken about it.
Then, there was a chance that no one really knew about it.
‘But is that possible?’
She didn’t know, but Hiyan was almost like a God who could see fate.
And she knew most about the World Tree, but she didn’t know about the existence of the squirrel?
Or did she just not tell her despite knowing about it?
She didn’t know which was the right answer, but that wasn’t important now, so she decided to ask,
“Let’s introduce ourselves first.
I am Ratatosque.
You can call me Rata for short.”
“Why should I introduce myself to you? Rather, tell me why you have been following me.
Sarah clenched her fist.
It was a small fist, but the power it held was unusual, so the squirrel gulped.
“I-I have no ill intention! I was just wondering what kind of weird person climbed up here, so I followed…”
“And how do you expect me to believe that?”
“And why would you not believe it?”
Rata squinted his big eyes in shock.
Unfortunately, Sarah didn’t have the skills to see through lies or the truth, so she couldn’t figure him out.
‘This one is dangerous, but….’
Still, she wasn’t going to let her guard down.
‘And its fur.’
It looked so soft.
Sarah wondered what to do with him.
‘He doesn’t have a weapon, but I don’t know what he will do if I let him go.’
Sarah had a worried look on her face, but then she decided,
Take the lead.”
“… what now?”
Deciding that it was better to act than speak, Sarah put her hand on the rope, and Rata’s face brightened, thinking he would be set free.
“I knew it! I knew the truth always worked! Right, good thinking.
I didn’t come after you for something.
Eh, I would never.
I will go back and do my own thing.”
Shut up before I cut out your mouth.”
Sarah made the rope longer and pulled it.
You will lead since I don’t trust you.”
What is this? I am telling you, I was just curious.”
“If you want to clear up the misunderstanding, you better do as I say.”
Rata didn’t respond to Sarah’s cold voice.
He wasn’t sure of what to say, and he felt like if he talked more, this child would punch him.
Rata got up because being wounded was what he hated the most.
“I will take the lead, but I will not be of any more help.”
“I will decide that.”
“Damn it… why did I come here?”
Rata whined under his breath as if he were truly regretful.
Many things live inside the World Tree.
There were bugs that fed on its sap, and plenty of giant birds that hunted them.
Even reptiles and amphibians, which were all difficult to count.
In addition, many creatures unknown to the world lived there, and many of them were very vicious.
Just like this one.
There was this monster that lost its home because Nidhog dug a hole.
The monster, which had avoided the powerful Nidhog, returned to its nest once Nidhog died.
But then another uninvited guest appeared at its empty home.
The monster with red eyes screamed.
Then it started to walk to the place where the uninvited guests were.
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