Chapter 181 - Ancient Dungeon (1)

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Johnson, a former leader of a band of bandits and a now faithful coachman, recalled the past.

He was in the middle of drinking, and one of his subordinates said something.

In Eisenmarkt, a city famous for its gladiators, there would be battles between Sword Masters, and surprisingly, some of them turned out to be of the age of 19 and 22.

So, he thought it was bullshit.

He wasn’t even an Expert, let alone a Master, but he knew how great being a Master meant.

Even if he searched the entire continent, there would be only 100 of them. A great title that even the most respected beings in the kingdom couldn’t help but want to touch.

And someone reaching that state? At 19?

‘I’m not even a kid; why are you making me hear such nonsense!’

‘But, brother, it is real. One of them is the famous Ilya Lindsay, and the other…’

‘It must be exaggerated! Don’t you know that neighboring kingdoms bluff? Think about it!’

At the time, he had slapped one of his subordinates on their heads and told them to not talk more about it.

However, it was wrong of him to do that; he now thought that he should’ve worked harder then, and that he should’ve found out more information about the two young geniuses from his subordinate.

About what they liked or hated, their personality, etc.

Why, because the people right now…

Bang!

Kwang!

Kwaang!

It was because he was now the coachman for the young Sword Masters from the Land of Proof he had heard about from his subordinates.

‘How can they use an Aura Sword at such a young age? Does this even make any sense?’

Johnson felt confused.

Even when they first split the woods, he didn’t think it was so absurd.

He never thought that he could ever cross paths with some promising youngsters who studied at great places like Krono or other places like that.

However, he learned later that they weren’t just some swordsmen.

“Mr. Johnson, just in case… if we find a place where there are few people, we will spar with each other.”

“Huh? Yes! Please do.”

“Yes. You might be shocked, so I’m telling you in advance…”

The shocking sight that followed, was something Johnson could never forget.

‘What I’ve seen so far isn’t swordsmanship!’

No, before that, he thought about something else. The fact that he had tried to steal from such monsters!

And at that thought, sweat poured down his face. It felt like the sweat was falling till his waist.

But it was fine. His intentions back then weren’t revealed.

If he worked hard as their coachman and did everything well, if he can get these monsters to the Holy Kingdom without doing anything wrong, everything will be fine.

Always smile, be humble and act sincerely.

It was Johnson’s present moto.

“Yap!”

Wheik!

Kwaang!

“Ah! I couldn’t control my power again.”

“…”

“The direction is off too. But it’s fine; I can do it better next time.”

The unidentified creature, which returned to the form of a cat, spoke after shooting out the fireball of tremendous power.

And this was the creature that Johnson was scared of the most.

Normally, the two humans were polite. They didn’t disregard him for being the coachman and always spoke politely.

If it wasn’t for their monstrous swordsmanship, they would be harmless like spikeless cacti.

However, the existence which he didn’t know of, was the cat or whatever it was, was unpredictable.

“No! A cat can’t eat these things!”

“But it is edible if you transform and eat it.”

“But transforming is hard!”

“But the more you do it, the more your skills will improve, and it will feel rewarding as well.”

“Next time, I want you to make a cat-only dish!”

With mood swings for the creature happening so many times during the meals, Johnson didn’t have any idea on how to deal with it.

Fortunately, though, that Lulu, the monster-like creature, would be nice to him at times, raising his income!

He already had 12 golden mice in his pocket.

Of course, until this job was done, he couldn’t use them.

“I finished washing and prepared the bed.”

“Thank you as always.”

“Thank you.”

“Thanks!”

“It was nothing. This is just my job. Then I will look around and come back.”

With his head bowed, Johnson stepped forward for a walk and lookout. Of course, considering their skills, it was useless for him to do this.

However, he deliberately did it.

‘Every time I am away, they seem to be talking about some secret, so I need to be away to make sure they don’t feel offended.’

He only listened once.

He couldn’t properly listen to the name, but the three were on their way to meet someone in the Holy Kingdom.

And the expressions on their faces at that time made it clear that they were impressed by the person they were talking about. For the first time since they started this journey, they had such stiff faces.

‘Who are they going to meet? And people who are Sword Masters make those kinds of faces?’

If the three of them worked together, not just the demonic beasts, but they could even defeat real demons too.

Thinking that, Johnson shook his head.

This wasn’t the time for him to think about that. Being quick-witted, he decided not to get involved in their business.

“Uh, so cold. Should I head back now?”

Just because he didn’t want to intervene didn’t mean he had to stay out all night.

It had been around 30-40 minutes, so he thought he could come back.

With a small chuckle, he turned and then went silent.

‘No, my opponents are Sword Masters and a Cat…. Right? Anyway, what is that cat?’

Since they all had powerful senses. He walked to the camp only to see an unexpected sight.

The two Sword Masters were sitting side by side holding hands.

“I will say this again, you don’t need to worry so much. When you were a child, it must have been a huge deal, but it won’t be like that now. And when we meet, you won’t feel like anything more than expected.”

“… you think so?”

It was like a normal conversation, and the atmosphere wasn’t too serious.

Seeing the two of them in their own world, not realizing that he was back, he tried to go back when the cat got up.

“Johnson, you’re back.”

“Ah, you’re back?”

“…”

“Uh? Ah! Yes!”

Johnson announced his return.

Lulu nodded and fell asleep again, and Airn Pareira greeted him with a smile.

But not Ilya.

“… I’ll walk around for a while.”

She got up with an expressionless face and disappeared.

Airn was shocked at that reaction, and Lulu got up again.

And asked.

“What now?”

“Well…”

“Are you not going to rest?”

“I don’t know.”

Watching those two talk, Johnson sighed.

‘The woman will have a hard time.’

He had an eye for such things.

But of course, he had no intention of being involved. So, he lay in his bed.


The year passed as they travelled, and then another month passed. The chilly wind of early February blew past Airn Pareira and the others.

And it wasn’t just the time which changed, but the location they were at changed as well.

Thanks to Johnson’s dedication, they arrived in the middle of the continent ahead of schedule.

Lulu was very pleased and took out treasures from her space.

“Great job! Keep working hard!”

“Thank you! Thank you!”

After receiving a gold statue in the shape of a fish being eaten by a cat, Johnson bowed his head.

He was no longer scared of the cat. In fact, he even thought that the cat was very lovely.

Maybe it is just an eccentric personality?

But it didn’t matter. Even if it was eccentric, the cat never harmed anyone, and even if the cat was angry, she never did anything bad.

All it took was slightly touching her chin, and she would cool down immediately.

Rather, the silver-haired woman, Ilya Lindsay, was the tricky one.

Johnson felt a chill run down his spine each time he made eye-contact with her.

And he knew.

Who the silver-haired woman was conscious of.

He knew about the reason for them heading to the Holy Kingdom.

Of course, he never said it out loud. He just quietly did his job.

“Give us a salad and chicken, some pork and beef, and one large thorny fish salad. Please make it fast!”

After the food was announced by the employee, the two humans and the cat went to the table.

With a smile as she came last, Lulu said.

“I hope the fish here is delicious.”

“…?”

He felt a few glances at them from the people in the building, but Johnson never cared.

Since this had happened so many times. They would wait, and then they would eat their food without saying anything.

And fortunately, there were no quarrels.

There would be some times where some noisy talks would break out, and sometimes it would be because they couldn’t understand Lulu.

But other than that, each group inside that place focused on their own tables.

A middle-aged mercenary who took a sip of his beer spoke slightly excitedly.

“I know I am saying this again, but that dungeon is amazing. Perhaps it is the greatest discovery in nearly a hundred years? At least it has to be from the time of Dragon King, and maybe even before that.”

“Ahhh, no way. Weren’t all the dungeons that were found, already explored 50 years back?”

“What, a dungeon story?”

Lulu’s ears pricked up, and she looked at the table in excitement.

There was a time when she was interested in dungeons, and ancient ruins but not now.

It was because they were all stuff she heard while traveling with Kuvar.

Above all, it was because of the same question the man here asked.

Numerous dungeons had been explored since 150 years ago, when the Devil came back from the Demon World.

Explorations were carried out by each nation to take possession of the artifacts containing the power of heroes or relics with holy power, so now, the dungeons that were left unknown were very few to none.

Ilya and Johnson, too knew that, so they had the same attitude as Lulu.

But not Airn.

Seeing him stare at the drunken mercenary with unusual eyes, Lulu asked.

“What is it, Airn?”

“Just, a feeling…”

“Feeling?”

“Yes. I thought he was going to say something important.”

“Ah? Then should we listen?”

Lulu, who heard Airn’s words, turned her head towards the mercenary, and so did Ilya.

Johnson was perplexed.

How could the attitude change so much because of a ‘feeling’? He didn’t know of the sorcerers and stuff, so he wasn’t sure.

And the story went on.

About the fact that the city-state Calven, who had grasped the size of the dungeon, was restraining the other nations from coming, was now on the verge of conflict with three nations.

And finally, the information that, to either mediate or take the chance of entering the dungeon… the Holy Kingdom dispatched their knight.

“Probably the Black Knight commander, Ignet Crescentia, will come.”

“Wah! Airn! You got it right! You have become a great sorcerer!”

“…”

Lulu praised Airn with a voice of admiration, and Ilya fell into her own thoughts.

Johnson stayed silent.

He knew these people were incomprehensible, and strange things kept happening.

But Airn didn’t seem to have a cheerful face.

With a moderate smile, he thought.

‘Was I too conscious of Ignet?’

He didn’t know.

It was true that the purpose of the journey was to go to Ignet, and it would be better to find out here than going to the Holy Kingdom and finding out then in vain…

But something felt odd.

He thought that there must be something deeper to their relationship with her.

“…”

However, no matter how much he thought, nothing came to his mind.

Shaking his head, Airn got up.

And approached the middle-aged man who was excitedly saying the story.

“Excuse me, can I ask something?”

“Hm?”

“Is there a way to participate in the dungeon exploration you just mentioned, as a mercenary?”

And that drew the attention of everyone around.

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