“Huh? Only that branch has no leaves. It’s amazing.”
Railo also put her palm on her forehead and looked at the bare branches.
I furrowed my brows and was lost in thought.
A lifeless branch.
It must have meant that tree branch.
If not, what else could it be? It was an unnatural sight no matter who looked at it.
But how is such a thing possible?
Was it just the genetic characteristic of the tree, or did the creator of the dungeon who left the code did something to this tree?
I skipped it because it wasn’t really important.
Rather, if it was a ‘lifeless branch’, it meant that it was the most decisive hint to find the dungeon.
Because the code says that a lifeless branch would guide adventurers.
I stared up at the branch.
What and how could a branch attached to a tree guide me?
I thought for a moment. Maybe if it was cut down, the branches would fly around and give directions… But it didn’t seem like that’s the case no matter how much this was a fantasy world.
Direction? Is it a direction?
I thought of something simpler.
Were you just telling me to move in the direction the branch was extending?
It was confusing, but I couldn’t think of anything else, so I moved. If it wasn’t the case, then I could just come back.
I looked back at the two and said.
“Let’s move over there.”
That’s how we headed in the direction the branch was pointing.
The sun had completely passed before I knew it, and darkness fell over the forest.
I took out the glowstone and walked, carefully examining my surroundings. I didn’t know where there might be traces suggesting the location of the dungeon.
After moving for several tens of minutes, something that clearly stood out came into view.
A single tree among the other trees emitted a sense of presence. Its leaves were dimly shining.
Railo also found it and muttered in wonder.
“It’s a luminous tree. It’s hard to see, but who would think it was in this forest too?”
As the name suggested, the luminous tree was a tree with leaves that emitted light at night. Like fireflies.
It was located exactly on the route we were walking on, so there was something suspicious about it.
Could it be that?
When the twilight subsided, the reason the time of the day was included in the code.
If interpreted differently, it meant that something specific that could only be seen at night was a hint to the dungeon.
And the luminous tree was a tree that emitted light like this only at night.
Feeling something connected in my head, I moved closer to the luminous tree.
So what’s next?
I moved in the direction where the lifeless branch was pointing to and found a luminous tree standing there. What more did I have to do?
I asked Railo.
“Do you know something?”
“The biggest tree, when the twilight has completely subsided, the lifeless branches will guide the adventurers. So I moved to the direction where that branch of the Mengrodi tree was pointing, and this luminous tree appeared. It seems to be a signpost to the dungeon. Let me know if anything comes to mind.”
Railo stood there looking dumbfounded before she asked.
“I don’t know? More than that, why do you say this is a signpost to the dungeon?”
“What else stands out at night other than this?”
She seemed to think about it again, but then she looked surprised as if she realized it only then.
“Indeed, that’s it! Could you please explain?”
“…Have you really done a lot of dungeon explorations?”
“I’m better at using my body, and my other colleagues are good at using their brain.”
“Where are your friends now?”
“After finding one artifact and having a big meal, everyone retired. I’m an adventurer because it’s my calling, so I’m still active.”
Such a story.
Anyway, Railo didn’t seem to be of much help.
I wasn’t expecting anything, but I asked Asher as well.
“Do you think of anything?”
Asher seemed to think hard, then she carefully opened her mouth.
“That… it’s not.”
But instead of speaking to me, she shook her head.
One of the two ways to piss people off was to stop suddenly talking when they were about to say something.
“It’s okay, tell me.”
I urged her to speak again.
“I heard that most dungeons and ruins are located underground.”
Since ancient times to modern times, people had excavated more relics because the remains on the ground were more noticeable than underground.
“That’s why I thought maybe there’s a dungeon hidden right under this tree.”
It was a very simple opinion.
But so what? It seemed reasonable.
“Ah, that’s a bit. How could they hide it so blatantly like that?”
Railo interjected and said.
My reason for having doubt was the same as hers, but my intuition leaned in favor of Asher’s opinion.
After thinking about it, I ordered Asher.
“Dig deep right in front of the tree until I tell you to stop.”
Asher gestured to Railo, who was standing still, to step back.
Railo, who stood next to me, looked at me as if it what I ordered was just absurd.
“Are you sure about this?”
“Nothing else comes to mind.”
“No matter how deep she dug, who would…”
The sound of the explosion hitting her ears startled Railo, and she looked back.
Every time Asher struck with her fist, the ground burst open and the hole got deeper and deeper.
Railo stared at the absurd sight.
Asher, who had been digging the ground for a long time, suddenly jumped over the pit and she said.
“Something like a stone wall appeared and there’s a space inside.”
I moved closer to the pit, put the glowstone above it, and looked down. She dug too deep.
It was dark, so I couldn’t see it well, but as Asher said, the artificial stone walls seemed to be faintly visible.
So, it’s real?
I was dumbfounded and laughed out loud.
Did the guy who created the dungeon think no one could really find it?
Even after I found it, I was amazed at how the hell Tair found it.
I tilted my head.
Wait a minute, wasn’t something inconsistent?
Even if you estimate the depth of the hole Asher had dug, it was well over a few meters.
So, Tair, like Asher, dug this deep alone and found that… Did that make sense?
I felt a strange sense of difference, as if something was out of place, but I still had to go inside.
I said to Railo.
“I’ll be back, wait here.”
She nodded her head gracefully.
Seeing Asher’s strength, it felt like her tone had become a little more polite.
I jumped straight down the pit.
It was quite high, but there were no problems.
I had already confirmed that if I used the floating veil in the air, it would fix my body mid-flight.
In short, if I used it while falling, the force of falling disappeared, so I could use it for landing.
Right before landing, I used the floating veil to land safely on top of the stone wall.
There was a hole in the stone wall where Asher was standing.
When I brought the glowstone closer, I saw that there was a space inside, just as she said.
At my words, Asher jumped down the stone wall first.
After checking the height of the floor, I also jumped down. And…
I was a little dumbfounded and looked around at the scenery unfolding in front of me.
There was a very wide space inside the stone wall. It was a scale I had never guessed.
It was also very artificial.
The walls and passages were cut straight like an underground lair of a secret organization, and the glowstones on the walls emitted faint light as if their power was almost exhausted.
What the hell is this place?
No matter how one looked at it, it’s not an ordinary dungeon.
No, was this even a dungeon?
Feeling the growing sense of alienation growing in my heart, I moved along the aisle ahead.
The aisle was very long. It was also twisted here and there and sometimes divided into several parts.
After moving for such a long time, we could reach a certain communal space.
That was the first thought that came to my mind when I first saw it.
A structure made of red stone placed in the middle of a large space.
The walls, ceiling, and floor around it were illuminated with magic circles and bizarre characters.
I had no choice but to pay attention to such trivial things.
It was because ‘something’ was sitting in the magic circle in the middle of that strange structure.
Wearing an old robe, something that looked like a human at first glance.
The moment I found it, an ominous feeling of unknown origin soared instinctively, and a number that made me doubt my eyes was reflected in my field of vision.
…What the hell was that, the fuck.
I couldn’t help but understood that they were in a very shitty situation right now.
This place was not a dungeon where Tair found a mystery.
It was the moment she was about to tell Asher, who was holding the hilt of the sword with a nervous expression on her side, to escape…
Violet rays flashed.
Asher, who was directly hit by the beam, was blown backwards before she had time to react.
I hurriedly turned my head.
Asher was pinned against the wall and could not move. I thought she was dead, but she thankfully just fainted.
I slowly looked forward again at the sound of laughter.
“Kheuh… hehe, heuhhahaha…!”
The grotesque laughter that flowed from the monster in the robe reverberated through the space.
“It’s here, It’s finally here! After all, fate didn’t forsake me!”
As he got up from his seat, the robe he was wearing crumbled and flew away.
And the exposed body of the guy was just bizarre.
The skin was black like ink, the veins clearly rising above it were pure white, and the eyes were shining brightly with blood.
Immediately, I took out the bow I was carrying on my back, took aim and shot the arrow drenched in my blood.
However, the arrow was blocked by the shield that wrapped around the robed monster and only bounced helplessly.
Feeling very disappointed, I lowered my bow and opened my mouth.
“…What are you?”
The monster who had been laughing for a long time stopped laughing and said.
“Enpyrus Deima, the wizard who dreams of eternity.”
“…That’s a name I’ve never heard of.”
“Oh, so much time has probably passed since my name has already been forgotten.”
His level was 97. He only had a one level difference compared to the Overlord, Rashtain.
My life was in danger.
Asher was knocked out, and my instant kill ability couldn’t reach him.
I kept my composure and stared at him with sunken eyes.
“Is the reason you attacked us because we invaded your territory?”
“Invasion? Hahaha! Quite the opposite! Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for someone to come here?! I couldn’t step out of this small magic circle, barely maintaining my dead body!”
He said incomprehensible words.
However, I could tell from his words just now that he was an ancient mage, and that he had been imprisoned here for a very long time.
And he was thrilled by my presence here.
The light flashed again, and my stomach felt hot.
I knelt down as I felt my body drain from the intense pain that followed.
I looked down at my side, which had been completely ripped open and blood was pouring out of it.
I didn’t even have time to activate the floating veil because I couldn’t react to the attack at all.
At that moment, I heard the monster’s voice.
“What are you? Why can’t you block an attack like this when your soul level is so high?”
The blood that flowed from me floated in the air and moved to him.
Soon, a voice full of joy filled the cavity.
“Well, it’s okay. The blood of someone as high as you can bring my body back to life! I can get out of this damn place and finally go out into the world again! Hehe! Hehahahaha!”
Hearing a buzzing sound in my ears, I raised my head.
He sucked up all the blood he had taken from me and began to greedily absorb it.
The more he did, the more his body repeated expansion and contraction as if it were revitalized, and a huge energy swirled around him.
I was dizzy from the pain, but I couldn’t help but burst out laughing at the sight.
After drinking all of my blood, the guy with a face full of elation tilted his head.
“What’s so funny?”
I barely opened my mouth and squeezed out my voice.
“Thank you for being so considerate…”
The monster’s body collapsed, and the energy that filled the cavity disappeared at once.