Chapter 10 Part 3
After Yuuki and the others entered the cave, General Barnes and Demeter were waiting at the entrance.
This is the upper level of the underground ruins, the ‘Capital of Ancient Magic Civilization, Elysium’.
In front of them was a rock wall and the entrance to the holy sword’s cave.
The ‘Capital of Ancient Magic Civilization, Elysium’ is a vast ruin that runs deep underground.
Only the upper level has been unraveled. What’s in the lower levels is not known. It is said that the ‘Sanctuary Church, Elysium Temple’ once fled deep underground, but they were eventually wiped out.
“It may be another couple hundred years before this place is fully unraveled.”
General Barnes muttered absentmindedly.
He is an acquaintance of Princess Iris’s mother. Because of this, he sometimes helps out with work related to the ‘Magic Guild’.
And this is one of them.
“The ‘Capital of Ancient Magic Civilization, Elysium’ is also a huge dungeon. The passageway runs along the rock wall, and there are countless caves in the wall. We have only reached the third level underground. We don’t even know what’s waiting for us in the lower levels. I wonder why the magic civilization of the past made such a thing.”
“We are in the middle of an exam. You might want to be quiet. General.”
“Excuse me. I was bored.”
General Barnes leaned against the rock wall and yawned.
“Do you know, Demeter-dono? That the spirits of dead priests of the ‘Sanctuary Church, Elysium Temple’ is said to be haunting the lower levels of this place?”
“I know. But that doesn’t mean anything.”
The mage, Demeter, tapped on the wall of the passage.
“They won’t make it to the upper levels anyway. There are amulets in the passage. Unless they are summoned, it is impossible for them to come up from deep underground.”
“Then why did the undead appear in the holy sword’s cave?”
“That’s… it is currently being investigated.”
“Are you sure it’s safe to conduct the exam in a place like this?”
“The officer in charge checked the amulets of the passageway yesterday. There isn’t any problem.”
“How can you be sure that the undead in the holy sword’s cave is just low-level undead?”
“That’s for sure. We used a familiar to confirm it.”
“You can’t be so sure. There’s the case of Kachel Mieghem, who was a worshiper of the ‘Sanctuary Church, Elysium Temple’.”
Suddenly, General Burns picked up the axe he had left propped up against the wall.
“Besides, this place is also an old battlefield. There must have been quite a few deaths. It wouldn’t be surprising if some of them were lost.”
“… What is this fog?”
Demeter looked around.
In the shallowest area of the huge dungeon, the ‘Capital of Ancient Magic Civilization, Elysium’, its passageway, there was a faint fog.
“… Well, well, it looks like we’ll have to take the exam, too.”
“… Please don’t joke around. General.”
Through the fog, there was something that looked like a shadow.
The shadow wavered when focused ──
“… Ghosts in the passageway!? No way. The amulets for protection against evil spirits were checked by the officer in charge yesterday…!!”
“I told you. You can’t be so sure!”
Dozens of ghosts emerged from the fog.
Ghosts are the departed spirits of those who have lingering attachments in this world.
Just touching them will cause one to be bathed in cold air, and if possessed, one’s mind will be taken away.
In addition, they are also difficult to deal with, as they can only be affected by magic or magical weapons.
“It may be that a higher level of the undead has emerged, one powerful enough to nullify the amulets.”
“I can’t believe it. There shouldn’t be such a thing…”
“I heard that the ‘Sanctuary Church, Elysium Temple’ were fighting amongst themselves here, so it would be no surprise if ghosts appeared!!”
General Barnes starts wielding his long-handled axe.
A brave warrior of many battles, Barnes’s axe is covered with magic. The axe is effective against ghosts where physical attacks are ineffective.
“Lost ones! There is no place for you in this world. Leave!!”
General Barnes’s attack cuts through the ghosts like thin paper, obliterating them.
Meanwhile, the mage, Demeter, is chanting ‘Ancient Magic’.
“Leave, ghosts! Activate!! The ‘Thorn of the Underworld, Darkness Thorn’!!”
She drew a crest in the air, and the earth magic was activated.
With a thud, the surroundings shook.
Thorns made of magic appeared from the ground of the underground passageway, entangling the ghosts.
Their spiritual bodies were pierced, torn off, and dissipated into mist.
“At the end of the ‘War of the Eight Kings’, we held a ceremony to repose the lost souls. So why do they appear here!?”
‘… The activation…… is slow… O mage!’
The fading ghost murmured.
‘…… Our Lord, the Seventh Priest ──── would have been… faster.’
“… The Seventh Priest…?”
The ghosts faded before the muttering Demeter.
General Barnes breathed a sigh of relief.
“I’m not very good at dealing with ghosts. I can’t tell if it’s working or not because I can’t feel it.”
“That’s not something a general who has had many battles would say, though?”
“Are all the apprentices safe? You’re sending your familiar to them, right?”
“… I have checked. Yuuki Grossalia and Odette Sorey are doing well. Eh…? That’s too fast! They are already near the end of the cave ── !? Without even engaging the undead? How did they do that!?”
“Nothing to be surprised of. It’s just what that boy does.”
“He was also quick in activating the ‘Ancient Magic’. If he’s a skilled mage, that speed would make sense… but having that kind of power as an apprentice…”
“What about the other team?”
“They seem to have chosen the route with less undead. Personally, I like this one better. Rather than being reckless… wait… what is this!?”
Demeter closes her eyes and synchronizes her mind with her familiar.
Her familiar is a rat strengthened with magic. They are quick, can get into anywhere, and are small enough to be hard to spot. They are perfect for examination supervision.
Demeter closes her eyes and switches vision with her familiar.
She sees two apprentices running with all their might. They are Gilvan Kiers and Guiel Wolfgang. The taller one must be Gilvan and the shorter one is Guiel. They seem to be arguing about something. Shouting can be heard. Guiel is shouting back. And then ──
With a bonk, the familiar rat died.
“What’s the matter, Demeter?”
“… My familiar was killed.”
“By the undead?”
“I won’t make such a blunder. A rat, strengthened with magic power, will not be done in by the likes of a skeleton or a ghost…”
Demeter shook her head and stood up.
She has a bad feeling about this.
“We’re going into the cave, too. Something strange is going on.”
“Mm! If there are any victims in this mere exam, Her Royal Highness Princess Iris will be saddened!”
The mage, Demeter, and General Barnes dove into the cave where the holy sword was kept.