Chapter 97 Death Inviting Footsteps – Floor 51
「……Nn～～～～………Ahー, did it get cancelled?」
As soon as I got up, I immediately created a Water Cooling Barrier. It’s still only around 5 in the morning, but the sharp sunlight on the open skies is already starting to heat up the surroundings. When I looked at everyone, it seemed like they were troubled sleeping, but let out a gentle sigh of relief after it was deployed. Oops, that was a little bit dangerous……
I also immediately blanketed everyone with processed wolf fur so that they wouldn’t catch a cold if it was a little too cool, while the other early risers came to greet me.
「Oh, good morning……」
The young babies that the children were carrying woke up and reached out to me smiling. Sorry, I don’t have milk to offer to you, little ones.
When I brought my fingers close to one of them, the baby grabbed my hand and started suckling. Oh, I could make some pacifiers for them along with proper baby food.
After watching the first one to grab my hand, the other two babies also reached out to me. Sorry, I only have two hands… and I’m sure that if I grow extra hands using fairy magic, I’d end up frightening them.
「……Sigh, it can’t be helped」
「So, what exactly are you doing so early in the morning」
「G, Good morning La Veil. If it’s alright with you, could you lend me a hand for a bit?」
「Ahー… fine, do as you please」
The early awakened La Veil squints as she stares at me. Right now my hands are occupied by two babies as I was humming for the third one. Hey, don’t do that… don’t start moving around… I wonder if I could get someone else to hold them…
「Master, how about making Arena hold them down when I’m sleeping?」
「You just want someone to replace you so you can sleep some more right? This dragon」
Soon enough we reached the 51st Floor, and as we entered, the atmosphere changed.
「……It’s indoors this time」
「……It kind of resembles a mansion, right?」
「It sure is a gorgeous hallway though」
The place we entered looked like the hallway of a mansion. There were chandeliers hanging from a high position, far ahead of the aisle, and the floor is covered with a comfortable to touch red carpet. There is no dust at all, as if it was just recently built. There are also some finely crafted furniture stuck on the walls.
And as we were observing, Arena and the children took off their boots and shook off the sand that accumulated on the inside. Please do something like that outside, not inside a place like a mansion or castle……
「So, are we still in a dungeon floor, or are we inside a mansion?」
「I wonder what kind of monsters would be in a place like this?」
「……Well, that’s something we have to find out soon」
There is no other choice but to continue. For the time being, we started walking cautiously while keeping everyone as close as possible.
However, after several hours of walking, the scenery didn’t change at all and some children felt uncomfortable with the endless looping corridor, so we stopped for a bit and held an emergency meeting.
「Isn’t this corridor just too long? It doesn’t feel like we were progressing at all, right?」
「Maybe there’s some kind of gimmick involved? We haven’t encountered any monsters along the way too」
「Is it some kind of trick that is not a proper trap?」
「Probably. But… because things did not change at all, it creates a really creepy atmosphere」
「Ah, I understand that feeling. It kind of resembles something that happens in a horror movie」
Is this really something like that? Let’s see, what’s something common on such western mansions……I see, then the monsters would also be……if that’s the case,
「Cielo, there was an old grandfather’s clock along the way, right?」
「Eh, umm, yes there was indeed one」
「Do you remember the time it was set on?」
「……No, I don’t rem「It was at 12 o’clock?」Arena?」
Arena confidently answered my question that was addressed to Cielo. Yoshi, as expected of my best friend.
「Did you notice the needle moving?」
「I see. Mika, I adopted one of your ideas from earlier. Alright, 1 point」
「Why did I get points? What are the points for?」
「Do you want to know?」
「……I don’t want to know」
After resting for a while, we started moving again, now to find the clock. This time, we walked slowly so the children wouldn’t feel sick from the repeating visuals. And finally, we found what we were aiming for.
「Ah, there it is. Well, the time is… as expected, it’s not moving at all」
The pendulum is moving, but the hands did not move, even the one for seconds, and all the needles kept pointing at 12 just like before.
「What does this mean?」
「Probably, this floor, or rather this mansion, has its time stopped at 12 o’clock. The same goes for the progress in this floor. In other words, 『The Story of the Mansion』 has yet to start. And if we want to continue, we need to do something」
Cielo and La Veil tilted their heads in confusion, not understanding the meaning, but Mika on the other hand got it and her face turned blue. While Arena is,
She put her hand on my shoulder and started bouncing with excitement. Is she thinking about this as some kind of attraction? Well, Arena isn’t really the type to be scared by something like this. Now then, time to ring the bell that would start this with everyone.
「Alright, Arena. Rotate that hand once」
Arena opened the glass door of the clock and spun the seconds hand with her index finger.
The lights from the chandeliers went out first. The hallways were blanketed with darkness to the point that we even couldn’t see each other’s faces. Cielo and Mika screamed from the surprise. I was a bit worried because there were no screams among the children.
「Children, Roll call」
While listening to everyone I counted, and the result was that everyone was present. When I asked them why they were silent, it seems like everyone was holding their breaths. No, you shouldn’t have done that, it’s ok to be scared you know?
For the time being, in order for us to move in this darkness, I asked La Veil to float a small fireball for light,
Only after that we realized that we’re not in the same mansion anymore.
「Isn’t this like, really scary!?」
Just as Mika said, even though we were in the same corridor, the red carpet became rugged and dark with rips and damages all over the place, the windowpanes and boards became tattered, and the outside was in total darkness, almost like a void. There were also broken pieces of chandeliers on the floor, as if they have decayed after a very long time.
Adding to that were the traces of blood splatters all over the place. It completely turned into a typical horror house no matter where you looked. Since it’s like this, I won’t be surprised even if something actually appears.
And then, from depths of darkness beyond the hallways, footsteps came, 1……2…
With hollowed eyes that do not reflect anything, they popped out of the boards. Their eyes shone an eerie light as they focused upon the children.
Broken pieces of furniture also started rattling and floating all on their own.
And then, from the corridor behind us, moving slowly, a group of undead that barely had a humanoid shape, started flooding in.
It was a terrifying sight. The children who witnessed this horrifying madness couldn’t help but fall down as their feet trembled in fear. That is fine though. It was definitely better than having them panicking and running away.
Race: Insanity Ghoul
【Inherent Skill】Corrosion, Undead Body (Curse)
Skills: Madness (B)
Race: Evil Geist
Skills: Floating (A)
I have never encountered anything like this before. Not to mention they are inflicted by an abnormal skill, even though they should be undead already. La Veil and Mika prepared themselves and even Arena is in『S．A．T』 mode now, ready to give instruction even if she won’t be able to fight properly. Mika’s 『Holy Sword』Skills should be able to easily deal with them. The children, even if they can’t move, will be alright as long as they are within my barrier.
However……this was different from what we expected.
「Mika, are you sure that the confirmed level of this place is only 50, right?」
「I think I understand the reason why」
Beside everything else, at the end of the passage, there was a certain『Armor』that appeared from a magic circle.
Race: Ancient Armor (Awakened+)
【Unique Skills】Insanity (Curse), Grant Undead, True Holy Armor (Curse)
Skills: Madness (EX), Sword Arts (SS+), Shield Arts (SS+)
『Makes the affected target lose their will or reason』
『Turns a person you kill into a ghoul』
・True Holy Armor (Curse)
『Increase the status to 10x and disable all status anomalies. If you acquire these unique Skills, it will give correction medium for the Holy Sword characteristics』
『The higher the rank, the more effective the status will be. Current correction: 100x』
A short while ago, I was at a level that I would probably be annihilated instantly if I were to engage on that enemy, unable to do anything……
The one who made this dungeon must be kidding me. No matter what they think about this, a normal hero would not be able to win against something like that. It’s like one of those super bugged characters that are just basically there to prevent you from completing a dungeon quest.
Cielo who saw it began to tremble and Mika who felt it’s killing intent was also frightened.
「Why, why is there a Hero’s armor……in a place like this」
「It’s so strong, I have never seen anything like that……」
I quietly gave instructions to La Veil and Arena. Arena who was already in 『S．A．T』 mode also made her moves.
「I understand. “That” is really dangerous indeed. I will also use 『Synchronization』」
「Un, if anyone else faced that, they would certainly die. Arena too」
「It’s okay, I won’t get in your way」
「Well then, can I’ll leave the rest to you?」
「……Can you really do it on your own, Master?」
What is it now, La Veil. Are you worried that I won’t beat that on my own? It’s fine, though I would be happy if this could become useful for the children later.
「Well, it’s because that seemingly wants to challenge me. Also, it’s been a while since I’ve found an opponent this challenging. For now, La Veil, please block the path the same way as you did on floor 20」
I could feel it. Even while hidden by the helmet, its line of sight was definitely directed at me. Perhaps it sees me as a challenger. There is probably no other reason why something with ridiculous status like that would come out.
「……Alright. Don’t die Master」
「Also one more thing. Arena」
「What is it?」
「Will you hug me in my sleep after everything is done?」
「I always do it. Do your best」
Alright, I don’t need to worry about anything anymore. I don’t know what their intention is, but I’m going to challenge it even if I might end up dead. Because that is the true nature of a fairy and fairy magic, to enjoy everything to your heart’s content.
This time, I could feel as if I was getting sucked in an abyss while those two eyes stared at me. That’s right, only look at me. And I will be only looking at you.
「Let’s dance, Phantom」