◈ Episode 368 Haunted Land (1)
It was early morning.
Rudger and Arfa finished checking out after eating breakfast provided by the Land River Hotel.
“There are a lot of people walking around. It’s still early.”
Arfa muttered that while looking at the early morning cityscape.
Because it is close to the mountain basin, the city was quite cool.
Because of that, a faint mist was wrapped around the city, and many people could be seen wandering through it.
“Because today is the day of the Mystic Night.”
“So, are you saying that all the people moving now are wizards?”
“Not all. But most of them are wizards.”
Rudger looked at the people busily walking down the street with a monocle worn over one eye.
Eighty percent of the passers-by had magical powers.
They were all wizards.
Of course, among them, the levels of wizards are divided, and among them, there will be those who are divided in purpose.
However, what they all had in common was that they headed to the Kassar Basin, where the Mystic Night was held.
“If we go on like this, we might not have a wagon to ride.”
“You don’t have to worry.”
As soon as those words were finished, a carriage arrived in front of Arfa and Ludger.
This time, it was a carriage led by horses made of magic, but Arfa widened her eyes when she saw the person leading the carriage.
“ah. The person who drove us yesterday.”
“good morning. Wizard. And that assistant.”
“yes. good morning.”
Rudger lightly exchanged greetings with the coachman and got into the carriage.
Arfa also got on the carriage while feeling bewildered.
“When did you call?”
“When I got off the carriage yesterday, I put money on it and asked to come out at this time. Because it is certain that the reservation will be overdue on the day.”
“ah. There was a way.”
The carriage started.
After leaving the city, the carriage climbed the slope with the Kassar Basin.
It was a slope, so there was no inconvenience in going there.
Just as a small village developed into a city, places where people could go were completely opened and well-paved roads were created.
Time passed and the sun rose quite high, but the surroundings became rather dark.
It was because the fog got thicker as we got closer to the Cassar Basin.
The coachman stopped the carriage and said so.
Arfa looked around and confirmed that this was not Kasar Basin.
“Is there still distance left?”
“This is where coachmen like us can go. If you go further than this, the carriage won’t move because of the excessive mana in the air.”
As if to prove that the words were not false, customers were all getting off from the carriages around them.
“Arfa. We’ll go too.”
When I added a tip to the coachman for a good job, the coachman showed a smile and took off his hat to politely say goodbye.
“If you have another visit in the future, please visit me. I will treat you more cordially.”
The coachman left, and Rudger and Arfa walked along the paved road.
The fog grew thicker as we headed into the basin, but we didn’t get lost.
The road was well paved, but it was because so many people were moving in a row that it made even the haze fog obscure.
If you want to know where this place is, it was clear that you would arrive if you followed the person in front of you unconditionally.
“Is it over there?”
Rudger raised his head and peered over the crowd.
The surroundings are also full of fog, but what I am seeing now far surpasses it.
As if the cumulonimbus cloud in the sky had been taken directly, a pure white curtain spread in the form of a dome.
It was one of nature’s mystical phenomena caused by oversaturation of magical power.
And inside the barrier of the hundred, there was the Cassar Basin.
‘A lot of prominent wizards have gathered.’
The magical power of the magicians seen through the monocle seemed formidable.
Just as Ludgar looked at the other people, the wizards gathered here pretended not to be and looked around to try to understand the other person.
‘Who is that person?’
‘It’s a face in my memory.’
‘The teacher who lectured in Arcane Chamber.’
Quite a few wizards recognized Ludger’s face and their eyes lit up.
Rudger felt a lot of stares flying at him, but he didn’t bother to show it.
“leader. It looks like you’re just staring at me?”
“You must have recognized me. But I won’t bother you right now.”
“Because it’s more important to go forward now.”
At that time, a small commotion flowed from the wizards lined up in front of them.
Astonishment, admiration, or something else.
The noise rippled through the fog and rang in everyone’s ears.
“leader. Can you see? in front of me.”
Arfa’s excellent eyesight caught what was happening in front of him.
“The door is open.”
Arfa’s explanation was somewhat abstract and vague, but those who actually encountered the scene would not be able to deny it.
A pure white fog covered the Kasar Basin.
One wall of the mist spun like a whirlpool, leaving a huge hole.
A path opened naturally, not drilled by anyone.
The gateway to the Cassar Basin, which is only open three days a year, was opened.
“It’s Kasar Basin!”
“The door is open!”
“Come on in! You have to settle down first!”
The wizards didn’t even think about protecting their bodies and rushed through the open passage.
The number of people gathered at the table was quite large, but the size of the aisle was much larger than that.
It was as if the city gates were wide open, as if welcoming delegations from other countries.
Rudger and Arfa also followed the crowd.
The inside of the aisle was surprisingly quiet.
“Why is this road open?”
“It is said that the flow of excessive mana collides with each other at some point.”
“okay. Occasionally, other currents that deviate from the flow collide. Normally, even if they collide, a greater force is swallowed up, but perhaps because of the mystery of nature, the magnitude of the force becomes equal and cancels each other out.”
“ah. So, a vacuum is created in the place of the offset magic power.”
“This is how the hole is drilled. This space itself is a magical vacuum. It’s hard to see it anywhere.”
Since it exists in an unusual state from the entrance, of course the eyes of the wizards are bound to turn upside down.
After passing through a fairly long passage, the view was open and the vast landscape came into view.
“This is truly magnificent.”
Wizards visiting Kasar Basin for the first time exclaimed.
You might think that behavior is pointless, but no one pointed it out.
Because the scenery of Kassar Basin was so beautiful.
From the outside, it was just a dome covered in pure white mist, but inside it was a completely different scene.
Small forests were established over the open fields, and clear streams flowed everywhere.
It seems to have brought nature deep in the mountains with just that.
The uniqueness of the Cassar Basin did not stop there.
The first thing that catches the eye is the subtle color.
A bluish, emerald halo of light, as if it had entered the coral reef sea, was casting all over the Kasar Basin.
In addition, small lights of yellow, light pink, and magenta colors were mixed like watercolors to create a dreamy atmosphere.
It’s like dreaming with both eyes open.
Ludger also traveled all over the world to see the magnificent scenery of Mother Nature, and now he is not greatly disturbed when he sees anything.
The Cassar Basin also inspired Ludger.
“Let’s move quickly!”
“The time given is 3 days! Everyone, stay alert!”
The wizards who came as a group did not forget their work and moved quickly.
Some wizards watch the scenery, some are busy moving.
From here, it was clear what purpose they were moving towards.
“Where are those people headed?”
“It is an outpost.”
Rudger looked at the rumbling wizards.
As if proving that they were of the same school, they were wearing white robes with the same pattern.
“And it’s also the banquet hall where the wizards’ festival begins.”
It wasn’t long before Arfa knew what it was.
Deeper inside the Cassar Basin, there was a simple tent set up by wizards.
The appearance of the huge towering triangular tents emitting various lights with magic lanterns, created a strange harmony with the unique atmosphere of the Kassar Basin.
A fairly large stream flowed in the middle, and there was even a wooden bridge to make it easy to cross it.
It was evident that they had been preparing for quite some time.
Standing on the wooden bridge, Arpa looked down curiously at the stream.
Perhaps it was because even the flowing water contained enormous magic power, and it was shining softly in an emerald color.
“Are there fish living in there too?”
“It will not be an ordinary fish. Evolved according to the given environment, or mutated by receiving excessive magic… … If you insist, you can see it as a primitive spiritual beast.”
“Those little fish?”
“Not all. Just as people aren’t called wizards just because they have a lot of magic power, not all beasts become spiritual beasts just because they have that much power.”
Rudger said that and turned his gaze to one side.
A dense forest was visible beyond the outpost in the center of the basin.
“But if this is the case, then there must be a real spiritual being who has learned how to handle his power.”
“Weren’t there any eyewitness accounts of Yeongsu?”
“I’ve heard of occasional encounters with mysterious beasts, but there’s no proof. But word of mouth continues, there must be a reason.”
Arfa’s eyes shone with curiosity.
“and. It’s Yeongsu. I’m very curious. It is an existence that has been known only through records until now.”
“surely. I’ve never actually seen Yeongsu before.”
“leader. I have a question. What will happen if Hans uses Yeongsu’s teeth?”
But when I heard it, I was curious about this too.
If he really did face Young-soo, and if he had no hostile feelings toward humans, would he be able to take away even the crumbs of his teeth or claws?
Of course, if Hans received it as a gift, he would look complicated.
Rather, it might be okay to try to find it for that reason.
With such thoughts in mind, as we arrived at the outpost, a loud noise came all at once.
Tents and tents set up here and there were overflowing with stalls, and there were occasional wizards arranging and selling goods.
Scarlet magic lights, loud noises, and wizards showing off little magic here and there.
It was truly a night market for wizards.
‘It’s been a long time since entering the era of the industrial revolution, but this place seems to be stuck in the past.’
Rudger and Arfa arrived at the reserved tent.
Since he had received an invitation, the tent had been prepared in advance.
‘It’s certainly convenient if you have a network.’
The inside of the tent was wider than expected.
Inside, all daily necessities such as carpets and sofas were also stocked.
It is not simply a tent for two people to squat, but a large tent that can accommodate 10 people.
Not all tents are like this, and this is probably a particularly large and expensive place compared to other places.
“leader. I will look around and learn the geography.”
After sending Arfa away, Rudger sat down on the sofa.
‘At last we arrived at Kassar Basin. Do I have to find Leslie here now?’
In addition, I had to go into the library of the secret mansion and check the contents of the book written in old books.
Considering that, 3 days is pretty tight.
‘But the number of wizards gathered here is over a thousand. Among them, will it be easy to find Leslie, who has hidden her identity?’
On the contrary, it was perfect to arouse suspicion if I tried to make contact.
For now, I decided to keep an eye on it.
I don’t know exactly what Leslie is trying to do, but given the scale, it’s by no means trivial.
For that, you will need to prepare in advance.
If you catch that clue, it won’t be too much to find Leslie.
As Rudger thought so, he saw a black shadow move inside the tent.
“Is it Arpa?”
If Arfa, who had left earlier, had returned, he would have said something.
So, is it an intruder?
Ludger’s eyes changed sharply and his momentum changed.
Rudger naturally took out the dagger from his waist and hid it in his sleeve as if hiding it, then slowly moved to the place where the shadow had been seen a moment ago.
The fact that the other person came inside without permission means that there is some kind of plan.
So strike first before being attacked.
With that in mind, Rudger looked beyond the chest of drawers where the shadow was hiding.
And after confirming the existence squatting beyond it, he relaxed his eyes.
“… … kid?”
Hidden behind a chest of drawers was a girl who looked to be about six years old.
‘Why is there a child here?’
I couldn’t say I didn’t have children.
Among the people who come to Kassar Basin, there are also those who come for sightseeing.
Maybe they came as a family, but they got lost and hid here.
Rudger slowly bent down and approached the child.
“Little boy. Are you lost?”
The child looked at Rudgar and nodded slightly with a frightened face.
“What about your parents?”
The child shook his head.
It was hard to understand if I had no parents or if I had fallen out of here.
Then the child spoke in a small voice.
“I’m looking for you.”
What are you looking for?
Just as Rudger was about to ask, Arfa arrived.
“leader! I’m here. There is also a booklet here. Even though it is only for outposts, there are maps.”
“Welcome. Arfa. More than that, I have something to say about this little boy. It looks like you lost your parents, can you find them?”
Arfa tilted her head slightly to the side, as if she didn’t understand Ludger’s words.
“Leader, what are you talking about? There is no one here.”