◈ Episode 263 Ars Goetia (2)
The cleaners moved in perfect order.
They are pros in this field.
There was no slowing down by noticing, bypassing or removing booby traps.
Even knowing the structure of this intricate underground laboratory, they knew where to move through.
Hans, who was receiving reports of the cleaners’ movements in real time through the rats, bit his nails.
‘It can’t go on like this. In this state, within 10 minutes, no, within 5 minutes, they will attack you.’
Ludger is off to kill Duke Ludwig Vencanto, the mastermind behind all of this.
In other words, it was only Hans’ role to protect this place.
‘Of course, this little dwarf kid is also there.’
To be honest, if it wasn’t for Sheridan’s explosives, Hans alone wouldn’t have been able to take this long.
But the opponent was tougher than he thought.
“What are you going to do now? Have you thought of anything?”
Seridan asked as if questioning.
Hans managed to open his mouth, which had been kept tightly shut.
“I have one. I really didn’t intend to use it this way.”
The swarm of mice caught Hans’ gaze and began to move in perfect order.
* * *
The janitor’s leader felt something strange.
This strange sensation of tingling between the eyebrows.
It was a signal from his instincts to his body that something was happening.
But no matter how wide I opened my eyes and looked around, I couldn’t catch anything strange.
no. there was
Explosive traps suspended from the ceiling.
The cleaners, like veterans, were avoiding them all and moving.
If you couldn’t avoid it because it was a narrow street, you would release the trap, but this place was quite wide, so there was no need to do that.
It was because now that I knew that the other person was trying to take time, I had to go to the speed battle.
“leader. What’s wrong?”
“no. It is nothing.”
It was the moment when the leader of the cleaners said it was no big deal and tried to move again.
The sound of rats coming from somewhere.
It was a swarm of rats everywhere, but the leader of the cleaning team felt something different.
‘Did there ever be so many rats here?’
It is said that the laboratory was made by digging deep in a coal mine that was not maintained, but there was no way that there were so many rats.
In addition, the movement of the rats, which usually run away when they face a person, was also strange.
All the rats climbing up the pipes and walls were moving toward a certain target.
And the leader of the cleaners knew what the rats were up to.
“… … Everyone get out of here right now!”
It was the moment when the leader of the cleaners shouted that.
A booby trap that the cleaners deliberately avoided.
It was forcibly activated by the rats approaching and touching it all at once.
A huge explosion engulfed the surrounding area.
Hans closed his eyes with a confused face at the sound of the explosion and vibration he felt above his head.
Hans, who launched a self-destruct attack on a group of rats under his control, felt a strange sensation that was difficult to describe in words.
I shouldn’t have cared how many rats like that died, but it was strangely heartbreaking.
But thanks to that, I triggered the trap and exploded where they were, so at this rate… … .
At that time, Hans received a signal from some rats and opened his eyes wide.
‘Are you alive?’
Contrary to what I thought I had eliminated all the cleaners, surprisingly they were alive.
‘It’s not all. Obviously the numbers are down. But how?’
Hans could see why as he looked at those who rose from the rubble.
‘Magic protective clothing! Are you wearing that expensive thing?’
His elite subordinates, including the leader of the scavengers, were clad in magic hazmat suits.
An item that automatically activates defense magic in response to a strong external shock.
It was inferior to Artifact, but it was like a spare life for those who made a living doing such things.
In fact, the leader of the cleaners saved his life thanks to the magic protective suit.
But they weren’t completely harmless either.
Due to the shock of the explosion and the collapsed debris, there were many wounds here and there even with the help of magic protective clothing.
Besides, the scavengers who couldn’t wear protective clothing were crushed by the rubble and all died.
The number of about 30 people was quickly reduced to 7 people.
‘Even so, this isn’t enough.’
If you can’t completely stop breathing, you’re only making the other person angry.
In fact, the leader of the cleaners’ face was distorted with heat rising to the top of his head.
Looking at his face covered in blood from the blood flowing down his forehead, he looked like a demon who had climbed up from hell.
He began to shoot and kill the rats in front of him.
‘I was caught.’
Hans kicked all the rats back.
The cleaners also noticed that the rats were up to something.
Since the rats were used to detonate the bomb, they had no choice but to notice unless they were idiots.
“How is it?”
Sheridan asked just in case.
“… … There are still some survivors.”
“You live? How?”
“They were wearing expensive equipment. Of course, he barely survived, so his condition is not very good, but his fever has risen properly.”
“What about the numbers?”
“It’s definitely lessened than before. So what are you going to do now?”
“How did you sleep, and now you’ve run out of traps.”
“That’s why I’m asking.”
Hans hesitated for a moment.
He pulled out a small tooth from his waistband and lifted it.
“… … Run away.”
“I can’t fight either, but at least I’m the only one who can kill time here.”
It wasn’t that Hans didn’t think of running away either.
It had nothing to do with what happened to the little boy sleeping in that glass coffin.
There was no need to fight to the death in a place like this to protect that child.
There was no responsibility to do so.
But Rudger asked me to keep this place.
And I learned all about what experiments people were doing here.
“… … I’m going to take my time and then run away.”
So I couldn’t back down.
Although he had this kind of power, he always ran away, but he thought he couldn’t, at least not now.
Sheridan’s eyes widened at Hans’ words.
And then, soon! He laughed and slapped Hans on the back with his hand in an industrial glove.
“no. I thought it was pretty good.”
“What do you mean?”
“Also, I thought you were just a bitch always looking out for the atmosphere or the mood. What is it? But I saw it again with the action I did a while ago. Yes, even if you don’t want to fight, sometimes you have to fight. So I’ll help too.”
“I might die. This has nothing to do with you.”
“Two are better than one, right? Besides, I’ve been hurt by them anyway, so it’s not like it’s irrelevant.”
Sheridan smiled and asked Hans.
“So what are you going to do? If you refuse, I will go fight alone.”
“… … Just don’t interrupt.”
As Hans said that, he drove the big beast’s teeth into the back of his hand.
Before long, Hans’ body swelled up and turned into a bear.
Torn hems flowed through the swollen brown hair.
Sheridan watched the scene, grabbed the fur, and climbed on top of Hans.
“ruler. Let’s fight then! Bear Rider sortie!”
“Don’t call me strange on purpose.”
Hans growled, but prepared to greet the soon-to-be cleaners.
* * *
Upon reaching the mine, Ludger narrowed his eyes as he saw the footprints inside.
The number is about thirty.
A significant number of people infiltrated inside.
Rudger ran quickly toward the inside.
The remains of disarmed booby traps were strewn across every street corner.
Even the traps to pass the time didn’t work properly.
All pro work.
Rudger realized things were going for the worse.
‘here is… … .’
Eventually, when the mine disappeared and the large space of the secret laboratory was revealed, Ludger stopped at the collapsed wreckage.
Blood seeping from beneath the rubble showed that they had not long been dead.
‘There’s no way I made a sudden mistake while releasing the trap until now. Hans and Sheridan did something special.’
At that moment, I felt a slight vibration from below.
Right after that, a roar similar to that of a giant bear.
Since no animal could have entered a place like this, it was clear that this sound was Hans’s.
If Hans, who was a coward, was going to be like this even as he changed, it must mean that the situation was really unfavorable.
Rudger immediately guessed the location of the source of the sound by closing his eyes, and then used shadow movement magic.
It was a situation where if I made a mistake, the coordinates could get twisted and get stuck somewhere in the laboratory, but now it wasn’t the situation to argue about that.
Along with the feeling of twisting my body, my vision changed completely.
Eventually, in the changed scenery, Rudger raised his crouched body.
My head was spinning due to the momentary excessive consumption of mana, but it was tolerable.
The magic of the shadows, like sticky tar, clung to his body and flowed down.
Rudger looked around before examining his own body condition.
There, Ludger saw a huge wear bear stuck in a corner of the laboratory and opened his mouth.
In addition to Hans, Sheridan was also with her, and she looked quite tired, probably because she had also participated in the fight.
However, there were no wounds on the body. It was probably all because Hans assumed the role of a shield instead.
“… … older brother.”
Hans, whose brown fur was dyed red in places, grinned at Ludger.
The relieved face conveyed the conviction that the situation was over.
“What else are you?”
The leader of the cleaners, who were in the middle of a confrontation, glared at Ludger with bloodshot eyes.
He also had a fierce battle, breathing hard, and there were many wounds here and there.
Of the elites who came along, only three were left, and the rest were killed by Sheridan’s bomb.
Because of that, he was in a very bad mood now.
To the point where I don’t get angry with killing everyone here.
He fell into a poor trap and lost his precious subordinates while fighting a dwarf girl riding a giant bear monster.
This was not a level that could be recovered even if the client was paid.
Of course, it’s true that this industry is always with these risks.
Still, seeing what he had lost, he couldn’t help but feel bitter.
“Are you also one of the guys here?”
However, the reason why he didn’t run straight to Rudger was because of some kind of instinct.
‘I didn’t feel the presence of people coming this far.’
As if born out of thin air, this man appeared out of nowhere.
Moreover, the bloody atmosphere he was exuding now suggested that he was an existence that had crossed the line of death far more than he did.
‘Even so, if the opponent is not vigilant, I can end it somehow with a surprise attack.’
The leader of the cleaners knew that fighting was not won by being strong.
It is not the strong who wins, but the one who wins is strong.
Winning and surviving at any cost was the only belief he had believed in on this earth.
‘If you find a gap… … now!’
The leader of the cleaners immediately took out a concealed pistol.
Grabbing a pistol that had been hidden under his wrist and protruded like a spring, he aimed the gun at Rudger’s forehead.
Just like that, his throat was cut and he rolled on the floor.
His pupils were completely unaware that he was dead.
It was the same with the subordinates who were embarrassed.
They figured out the situation belatedly and tried to attack Rudger, but Rudger’s shadow had already swallowed the cleaners first.
Seeing the situation being sorted out in an instant, Hans felt both discouraged and relieved at the same time.
“To be able to subdue an opponent who struggled so hard and barely took the time like this in an instant.”
“… … Nari, you are really incredibly strong.”
The exhausted wear bear and dwarf girl glanced at each other, then burst into laughter.
Still, he survived in the end.
Rudger approached the two of them.
“It is not yet time to be relieved. Hans. How did the experiment go?”
“I don’t know. For now, I just focused on stopping them.”
Ludger handed Hans a neutralizer along with a cure.
After spraying the cure, Hans injected the neutralizing agent.
The wound was not deep thanks to the hard and tough bear skin.
Still, the pain could not be helped, so Hans raised his body while frowning.
“Egogo. I will never do this again. It’s fortunate that the bullet didn’t go deep into the skin.”
“But I didn’t use ‘that tooth’.”
“… … You never know what will happen if you use it in the first place.”
Hans quickly changed into the clothes he had prepared in advance.
The three of them headed straight to the lab.
Even in that desperate situation, the laboratory did not suffer any damage.
Rudger looked at Arte, who was closing his eyes from inside the laboratory.
“The transfer of souls is all over.”
The arte I was looking at now was no longer even a soul, literally the corpse of a child named Arte.
The soul had already permeated into a new body through the extractor.
“But it looks like it needs some time to sync.”
Alpha Automaton, the prototype of the Iron Choir.
Ludger, who was examining the sleeping boy in the capsule, suddenly raised his head.
Hans was puzzled by Ludger’s strange behavior and asked.
“… … Hans. Sheridan. The two of you, hurry and get out of here.”
“yes? Wait. older brother. Why are you suddenly saying that now?”
Hans and Sheridan did not understand the meaning of Ludger’s words.
“Coming, who the hell… … .”
At that moment, a huge vibration emanated from above that resonated throughout the underground laboratory.
The green ‘liquid’ in which the test subjects were contained began to oscillate as if an earthquake had occurred.
Kagagagak! Koo Goo Goo!
The sound of something grinding and collapsing gradually got closer.
“Eh, what is this… … .”
Unlike the flustered Hans, Ludger stared at the ceiling.
No, someone beyond that.
“It seems that you are very angry. You can’t chase it all the way here, and you’re trying to dig a hole in the ground.”
Rudger calmly opened his mouth because he had vaguely expected this to happen.
“Did you want to catch me that much? Casey Selmore.”