We are already 2/3 through the first arc! Just 5 chapters more and we’re done! This mini-arc is full of actions so I hope I can convey it right.
ED: clover, eristol
A sad song echoed from far away.
On the walls and ceiling, it was a galaxy of crystals that were shining blue.
At our feet, the sea of black water that seeped out of the megalith was far exceeding the volume of the megalith.
The sound of waves, the scent of the tide, the moist winds, the homesickness were stealthily and smoothly entering my mind, trying to create the illusion as if this is not the underground but the sea with starry sky.
They tried to make me feel that it is the nostalgic ocean of the Visitor’s Clan.
I shook my head to shake off the delusions that had entered.
I have to be firm.
I have never traveled by a ship, and even before my reincarnation I had not taken a boat ride for more than five hours in my entire life.
So there is nothing like a nostalgic ocean!
“Klaus-sama! Ann-sama! It’s kind of dangerous, escape right away……”
Looking back, I saw the Hafan siblings struggling and suffering on the black sea.
Eh!? This has become a serious matter!?
“Sad, sad, sad……aah, Onii-sama, Erica-sama……please help……my head……”
“Kuh……keep your mind firm, Ann……! Concentrate on the circulation of magical power, keep up your Magic Resistance!”
Ann was trembling with a pale face while muttering incoherently.
Klaus hugged her, and protected themselves by wrapping themselves with the barrier of Protective Circle.
He pushed a magic recovery potion into Ann’s mouth and forced her to drink it.
Klaus also drank a bottle of the potion, it appears that he cast some spells and the barriers for defense were piling up.
“Both of you! Are you okay?”
“Erica, you weren’t affected!?”
“Eh, yeah……rather, I want you to tell me what happened……”
“Ah……I see, Aurelia is immune to such magic.”
Well, certainly Aurelia is somewhat immune to this kind of magic.
Besides, I was dubbed by father as someone particularly immune even amongst Aurelia’s people.
Right now it is useful, so isn’t that good?
“I received a tremendously strong mental interference. It pushed in nostalgia and loneliness, and finally it seemed like it was going to capture my soul itself.”
“I thought that my heart would be hijacked and I would disappear……”
“That was really dangerous.”
“You’re really insensitive……I didn’t think the day would come when I would feel envious of Aurelia.”
Somehow, it doesn’t feel like I am being praised.
Just to be sure, I moved inside Klaus’ Protective Circle.
Looking towards the megalith, its changes were advancing further.
The lump of star crystals melted and became smaller as if it had been eroding for a long period of time.
The carcasses of the monsters that had been scattered around in the cathedral were also affected by the erosion caused by the black water.
From the soft parts such as meat and internal organs, they were melting along with their skin, scales and bones……
“Huh? Klaus-sama, if we remain in this liquid as we are right now, won’t we also be in danger?”
“Don’t panic. It seems like a kind of magical effect that doesn’t work on intelligent creatures.”
“It would have been dangerous if my mind was destroyed with the mental interference ability just now.”
The Hafan siblings explained the information obtained by using Glam Sight.
Well, I am jealous of the Hafan people because of this.
But, I feel like I understand it.
Originally, Ann should have encountered the collapse of the eighth layer alone.
Of course, she didn’t have the wand of Feather Falling or even Klaus’ Protective Circle.
Ann would’ve expanded defense magic by consuming the majority of her magical power, but she also couldn’t have completely prevented injury, and then she would’ve arrived at the cathedral in that condition.
What would’ve awaited her is the destructive mental interference magic and black water that melts and takes in whatever it touches.
If so, this water—
As if to affirm my answer, the black water spread throughout the room was beginning to move.
Before long it dissolved completely, the black water was gathering in the place where the star crystal megalith was, which has become the size of the little finger.
The black water rose while swirling and condensing.
“Eeeh–? Well, is this the evil spirit after all—-!?”
“Evil spirit? Isn’t that the altar of a god? But, is there even a liquid evil spirit? Onii-sama, Erica-sama?”
“I have never heard of it either. It is true that it’s similar to a kind of spirit body – similar to the magical structure of a wraith……”
Oops. I said it out loud.
Anyways, a wraith, that is an even more ridiculous talk.
He should be the spirit of an alchemist who was killed by his compatriots because he made the Philosopher’s Stone.
Then, isn’t that a ghost?
The mass of black water repeatedly expanded and contracted, and gradually formed a shape.
The body that was previously liquid changed, with hard scales covering the surface of its body.
Two twisted horns resembling that of a sheep or a goat.
Thick limbs that look like logs with claws.
A large mountain-like body covered with shells and protrusions.
It was similar to a dragon.
It was similar to a turtle.
A monster that had never been seen or heard of before in the present world.
I want to say…I want to say even if I can’t communicate it to anyone……
In that game where you trained monsters while trying to collect a lot of them, if you paint the combination of Lapras and Sandslash black, it will be like this1.
The roar of the monster echoed in the cathedral.
The very loud voice that was about to shatter our eardrums was enough to make our legs that were about to escape frozen from fear.
“What the heck is that!? You said it’s an evil spirit, I can’t judge whether that is alive or dead, but it’s a dragon or another type of monster.”
“He should be an evil spirit……he was the legendary alchemist named Zaratan who created the Philosopher’s Stone, the one who led the Visitor’s Clan to this continent and found the gold veins.”
“How did such a great man become an evil spirit?”
“That was a human – however, because he was betrayed by my ancestors, that grudge……”
I know that if you have grudges you might become an evil spirit. But would someone take on this kind of appearance only because of a grudge?
I felt that the black monster looked at me, distorted its lips and laughed.
No, it wasn’t my imagination.
The growls of the monster gradually changed to something akin to a human voice.
『This me……this, me, a human? An alchemist? Kukukuku……everything is wrong……You……』
The monster’s massive build was trembling.
Is he crazy?
—No, this time it is different.
He is angry. He is angry, trembling with excitement that can’t be suppressed.
『Did you forget, Aurelia!
I always remembered……Nothing has been forgotten even after being frozen for hundreds of years…!
Your smell and the pain you gave me!!』
“Pain……? Then, after all, you are…”
『Oh, how nostalgic……
That face, that golden hair, those green eyes……
—But yet, you……about me…after just a few hundred years, did you forget!
……You guys killed, this me!!!』
My whole body was shocked as if it was struck by a hard object and my sight was instantly distorted.
The air was forcibly pushed out from my lungs, and I was confused due to my brain’s supply of oxygen being cut off, as if I was dragged into the pool for playful attacks.
Before I knew it, I was being pressed against the stone floor by the front leg of the black monster.
『Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha–!
This was just a gentle stroke…this is how weak a creature humans are!
It seems that this fact has not changed even after hundreds of years.』
『Kukukukuku, don’t worry, golden madness.
This degree won’t kill you……I won’t kill you, this easily……!
I will have you dead after letting you taste it……My pain, my regret, my loneliness, my, my……
I believed in you guys! I thought you were my true friends!
But……but, you betrayed me!!』
Black droplets dribbled down from the empty eye sockets looking into me.
Oh, no doubt about it.
It is different from the legend and game settings, but he certainly was betrayed by Aurelia’s ancestors.
Until the fire of your life disappears, just carve it into your soul……praise the devilish golden madness!
Zaratan is not my name.
As you are a human race, I am a race called Zaratan.
I am the only Zaratan.
The rich Zaratan.
I am the one who lost the opportunity to carve my name into the future for eternity……because of you, the traitors of Aurelia!!!』
It was a monologue full of anger, yet full of suffering like tearing out himself.
I nodded a little while being caught.
The emotion of his grudge had gently entered my mind somehow, rather than the mental interference ability that appealed for nostalgia and sorrow.
The moment my heart shook, a small explosion broke out in front of me.
Because he was pressured by the impact, the restraint of Zaratan relaxed.
At that moment, something wrapped around my body and I was pulled with great power.
“I don’t know……I don’t know anything, Monster. Ignore us, and don’t make up a story without permission.”
Before the exit of the inner sanctum, there were the Hafan siblings.
Klaus set the Wand of Fire Bolt and pierced the black monster with his staff, while Ann was grasping the opposite end of the magical rope wrapped around me.
That’s right, my bag……when I was pressed down by Zaratan, it was falling down.
“Erica-sama! Do you have any injury!?”
“Nn……I’m alright. Thank you for your help, Ann-sama, Klaus-sama.”
“I’m not okay.”
“Y-yes? What’s wrong, Klaus-sama?”
“If you die as you please, I’m not okay. Carve it deep into your soul more than the words of that monster. Hafan’s men will protect women before anything! So, don’t give a look as if resigning yourself to such a thing!”
I did not. I did not make such an ominous expression.
—I haven’t done it, right?
It doesn’t matter, and I am thankful that you will help me, but this is a tough one.
“Onii-sama……be more honest……”
“Ann! Don’t give unnecessary retort! Untie the rope as soon as possible!”
Ann untied the rope while sighing and returned my bag and wands to me.
Klaus’ sister is having trouble with him.
I want you to live firmly.
Ann had a bunch of spellcards and a staff, she stood diagonally behind Klaus.
I also came to my senses and stood up, having the wand handed to me by Ann at the ready.
Too late, Zaratan has recovered his stance and is slowly walking towards us.
A burnt-like smell still remains in the air, but the monster’s body doesn’t even show traces of flame injuries.
Was it hindered by the hard scales or did he already regenerate?
『Nostalgic……I miss everything……
I remember. The magic of a crafty alchemist.
I was surprised because it was a long time ago, but such magic tricks will never pass.』
“I see. If that’s the case, next time you will be surprised by Hafan’s exquisite skills. Don’t think that you will have the opportunity to live and see my magic twice.”
『Ha–! What a proud little boy!
You do not seem to be an Aurelia. The smell is different.
Were you lured in by a small sum of money, or have you been misled by the girl’s charm—
It is not something I know either way, but in the end you will be betrayed by Aurelia just like me.
I reject it. I have no grudge against or interest in you.』
“Are you going to retreat? Move aside, Monster. If I don’t bring back this showy lady and my sister soon, I will receive a good scolding from my father who is 100 times more frightening than you.”
Klaus continued to look after us as he stood with an imposing stance, he dismissed the huge monster he was facing in a grand gesture.
Even though deep down he must feel terribly frightened.
His strong point was his sense of responsibility, that didn’t change even when he was very young.
I glanced fleetingly at the wand that was handed to me by Ann.
The stick head was rock salt. The shaft was cherry tree.
There was a skin of boar wrapped around the handle.
Core material……the leg of a preserved pig.
Yes, it is the Wand of Grease.
I believe that it is an instruction from Klaus, but…..what does he want me to do with this wand?
The monster and Klaus were still glaring at each other in a tense atmosphere.
In this situation of conflict, my confusion was deepened.
1 I don’t think I need to say this, but this is referring to Pokemon. And seeing the cover of this series, Zaratan does seem like a combination of Lapras and Sandslash.
Edit: Apparently, Zaratan is another reference to D&D. Zaratan is the name of a giant turtle that looks like an island. (source)
Thank you to Ultimatecalibur for telling me this!
Also, I tried making Zaratan more menacing by bolding his speech and giving the sense of hurt by writing some of the words in italic. What do you think?