Episode 211 Nastrond (1)
After releasing the outer barrier and entering the Mist Garden, an unexpected scenery greeted Jaehyun.
A verdant garden emerges from a field full of ice.
It was hard to believe that it was the same place as Niflheim earlier.
‘Is this the Mist Garden?’
All kinds of plants are growing in an orderly manner around it.
However, despite such a cozy scenery, Jaehyun couldn’t help but let out an embarrassed voice.
It was caused by something I heard from a woman I had just met.
[what! Where is this! Who has been so early for so long?!]
“what? Why are you saying that even if you come early?”
It was something we couldn’t understand.
The owner of the voice that can be heard. According to the circumstances, this would be the person in charge of the third trial.
To put it simply, it means an existence that is eager to grow an adversary as soon as possible.
… … Obviously that’s what it should be.
Why is the voice I heard disrespecting myself for coming to the trial early?
That’s when the question popped into my head.
Hella’s voice suddenly interrupted and pierced Jaehyun’s ears.
“… … The lazy temperament is still there. He would have told me to get out of the habit of handling things whenever he shuts up. Idun.”
Hearing her words, Jaehyun’s eyes narrowed for an instant.
Idun. It was a familiar name to him.
Jaehyun looked back at the information about her with a calm expression.
‘If it’s Idun… I guess he’s referring to the ‘God of Youth’ as well.’
The god of youth in Norse mythology and the grower of golden apples.
The golden apples she cultivated had the effect of not only stopping aging, but also greatly increasing magic aptitude.
‘If it’s a golden apple, I’ve eaten it before.’
Jaehyun once received Idun’s Golden Apple as a reward right after clearing the first junction quest in a mock dungeon in the past.
I was disappointed because the taste was not as good as I expected.
he reminisces about the past
Suddenly Idun’s hot voice was heard.
“Hella! As I said before, I’m not lazy, I’m just a bit slow!”
Hella didn’t take it seriously as if it was a familiar thing.
“That repetition is called indolence. It’s pretty obvious. Seeing us put in front of us like this, isn’t it that we are not properly prepared for the ordeal?”
“Ugh… … !”
At Hella’s barrage, Idun couldn’t reply as if he had been hit hard.
In fact, she didn’t reveal herself even when Jaehyun and Hela arrived at the Mist Garden.
Jaehyun realized that.
At first, why did Hela find it annoying dealing with the person in charge of the third trial?
‘… … It’s already the third trial, but it’s the first time I’m not ready.’
Jaehyun suppressed his irritability and asked at the voice he heard.
“I will wait until the third trial is ready. How long will it take?”
“hmm… … That, about three days?”
It’s not that I couldn’t wait, but it was quite a long time.
Moreover, the time in Niflheim, which is full of desolate ice, will pass even more slowly.
This problem is entirely due to Idun’s lack of preparedness.
The part you just can’t skip. Jaehyun was thinking of ripping off something from her here.
“ha… … .”
Jaehyun sighed and started acting in earnest.
“It’s the first time I’ve had such a poor ordeal. You only have to blow away precious time.”
Annoyed voice. The reaction was instantaneous.
Immediately, Idun’s voice, which was flustered, was heard.
“Mi, sorry! But I didn’t expect you to come this far… … .”
In fact, Idun had no choice but to panic.
Of course, it was my fault for being late, but didn’t I judge that it would take at least a year for the adversary to come this far?
After all, things got messed up because he arrived in Niflheim too quickly.
“If you’re sorry, you have to pay for it. Don’t you know that an apology that is only verbal is not sincere?”
Idoon’s hesitant voice followed Jaehyun’s snarky words.
“Now, wait a minute… … .”
Idun didn’t say anything for a moment as if he was thinking about it, but then clapped his hands as if he remembered.
“That, yes. I’ve heard it before. I heard you use ‘that guy’s’ fangs as weapons?”
“That guy… … ?”
After thinking for a while, an existence passed by Jaehyun’s head.
he said, blinking his eyes.
“Are you talking about Nidhogg?”
Among the weapons Jaehyun could craft, it was the only one with the name Fang.
Idun strongly agreed.
“huh! that’s right! Needhog! I’ll let you strengthen his weapon.
I’ll give you a quest for three days while the ordeal is ready, so strengthen your weapons and come. I’ll prepare for the ordeal somehow quickly. how is it?”
‘Nidhogg’s fangs are still an excellent S-class weapon. If you take it one step further… … It must mean being promoted to a mythical level.’
It was a business that Jaehyun had nothing to lose.
Anyway, I can’t go through the ordeal right away. For now, it’s best to do what she says.
It was something that might be said to be canceled if I became more greedy here.
Jaehyun nodded, trying to hide his satisfied expression.
“that… … No gossip later!”
Idun immediately said so in a triumphant voice.
Along with her words, a refreshing message floated in Jaehyun’s ear.
―You have accepted a new quest.
―You have accepted the sub-quest 《Nidhogg’s Fang (Enhancement)》.
Nidhogg’s Fang (Enhanced)
Recognize the dragon Nidhogg, who exists in Nástrǫnd in Niflheim.
Condition – Nidhogg’s recognition.
Reward: Upgraded craftable grade of Nidhogg’s Fang to Mythic.
Jaehyun smiled at the quest window that popped up.
A golden opportunity to strengthen Nidhogg’s fangs.
There was no reason not to save it.
“Then see you in three days.”
“Yes! Come as slowly as possible!”
Idun said that until the moment Jaehyun left.
Poppy just tilted his head, as if he didn’t understand.
* * *
After a while. Mist Garden after Jaehyun leaves.
Idun, who was sitting on the terrace, muttered as he watched him leave.
“Adversary… … It was much scarier than I thought… … .”
She wrapped her arms around her shoulders, remembering Jaehyun’s face from a while ago, who was demanding compensation from her.
Even if it’s not, isn’t it Jaehyun with poor eyesight?
Unfortunately, the human personality that Idun encountered after a long time was not very good.
However, she was simple.
Soon, Idun quickly regained his energy and laughed innocently.
“no way! What’s good is good! Anyway, Nidhogg also wanted to meet the antagonist, so that’s great!”
She thought so and kept her arms crossed.
“Anyway, I didn’t expect the adversary to come this soon… … What did you do? It’s a shame because I coped with amazing improvisation!”
Idun found peace of mind by looking at his garden.
From now on, we must prepare for the third ordeal.
You never know when the skimpy adversary will come back to you and demand compensation for damages.
If you don’t prepare quickly, you may lose all your money!
Thinking so, she spurred on preparations for the ordeal.
There were several small seeds in Idun’s hand.
* * *
“I didn’t know the door was hidden in this fog.”
a few hours later
The place Jaehyun, Hella, and Papi arrived on foot was a seaside covered in thick fog.
You can see it as soon as you get out of Idun’s Garden and reach the northern end. In Jaehyun’s eyes, a huge arched door covered in fog entered.
A door with patterns of snakes, wolves, and dragons carved in embossed relief on the surface of white bones intertwined.
he asked, looking around.
“Nastrondra… … It’s a rather unfamiliar name. Can I ask where exactly it is?”
Hela replied as if she had been waiting for Jaehyun’s words.
“To put it simply, it is hell. But it’s a fundamentally different place from Helheim.
This is a place where only the wicked among the dead come. It is a kind of prison.”
“That’s right. This is a prison for those who have committed serious crimes. We lock up the prisoners and give them the punishment they deserve.”
Jaehyun couldn’t help but be surprised that there is another hell that is different from Helheim.
This is because in the Norse mythology that ordinary people know, such a concept is not dealt with in detail.
Jaehyun also studied mythology a lot, but the area called Nastrond was not very familiar.
I’ve only heard the name a few times.
But I didn’t worry too much.
Isn’t the girl right next to me a myth itself?
At the point of going with Hela, Jaehyun had no reason to worry about such a problem at all.
Thinking so, Jaehyun nodded and nodded.
“Let’s go inside first.”
After Jaehyun said that, he tried to go inside first.
Suddenly, a voice came from somewhere.
[The antagonist of the prophecy… is it?]
“This voice… It’s Nidhogg.”
As Hella said that, she looked beyond the door where the voice came from.
Jaehyun calmly nodded.
“Are you Nidhogg?”
[Yes. I am Nidhogg. It is a dragon that lives in the deepest part of Nastrond.]
At Nidhogg’s words, Jaehyun immediately got to the point.
“I received a quest to strengthen my weapon from Idun. He’s asking you to take credit… What exactly can I do?”
[First of all, reach where I am. The deepest part of Nastrond. Right to Hvergelmir.]
If it was this word, Jaehyun knew it well.
‘It means a bubbling spring, the source of all the water in the world, and the spring where Nidhogg lives.’
Even in mythology, the location of Hvergelmir is described as Niflheim.
By the way, the dragon said to live there is also Nidhog.
In other words, the historical evidence of the myth was well maintained.
Jaehyun nodded and nodded.
“Is that all?”
[Of course not. But getting there won’t be that easy.
You won’t even be able to reach this place if you don’t pass through the three gates.]
[Then I wish you no luck.]
Before Jaehyun could answer, the voice became an echo and disappeared.
Hvergelmir. Leaving only the words to go to the deepest place.
It’s because Nidhogg left meaningful words at the last moment.
“The road to get here won’t be easy… What do you mean by that?”
“Once inside, I will explain.”
Hearing Hella’s words, Jaehyun took a step inside.
With a squeaking sound, the white door made of bones opened, revealing its interior.
Seeing the scenery there, Jaehyun went cold without realizing it.
[iced coffee… stop… stop… .]
There, countless dead were seen tied to chains and unable to move.
Violet liquid dripped constantly over their heads.
With a burning sound, the voices of the dead grew stronger.
Jaehyun was able to realize at once that it was poison.
“What is this… what is it?”
To those words, Hella replied with a hard expression.
“The first gateway to Nastrond. This is where sinners who commit adultery are tortured. They have to endure the agony of the venom dripping over their heads every day.”
[stop… free us… I am… I am… !!]
[please… Please stop… … .]
“Don’t make eye contact. Because the eyes of sinners make people agitate.”
Hella led the way with her horse.
She seemed familiar here.
However, despite her words, sinners stood in the way of Jaehyun and Papi.
The moment Jaehyun tried to raise his mana as if he couldn’t do it.
Suddenly, Hella raised her hand and looked at Jaehyun.
Right then. Hella, who had restrained her reappearance, calmly took her steps and raised her magical powers.
That was the moment.
A strange thing happened.
The sinners who were surrounded by them bowed their heads toward Hella and began to pave the way.
“Hella? what is this… … .”
Seeing the sinners bowing down flat and bowing to Hella, Jaehyun made a face that he didn’t understand.
Hella smiled and said.
“It seems you forgot that I am the alter ego of Hel, the ruler of the dead.”
After she said that, she pointed forward and hurried her steps.
“Let’s go. You’ll have to move quickly to meet Nidhogg.”